Top Pick Of The Week

August 7, 2007
Last Updated August 2010

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Tuna Sandwich
Mayonnaise doesn’t get more exciting than the mayos from The Ojai Cook. Whether it’s tuna, lobster salad, deviled eggs or a garnish for shrimp or grilled chicken, a jar of Ojai mayonnaise is a cook’s best friend. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

WHAT IT IS: A line of highly-seasoned gourmet mayonnaises and seafood sauces.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Finally, mayonnaise tastes like it should—vibrant with citrus (lemon juice is an ingredient of homemade mayonnaise), herbs and/or spices. Now, you don’t have to throw everything else into the recipe on top of the mayonnaise, to shake up the flavor.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It makes everything, from the simplest sandwich to a party hors d’oeurve, taste amazing. We could eat it from the spoon—something we would never wish to do with bland, unctuous supermarket brands.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Call 1.619.222.6690 or visit,, supermarkets and specialty food stores nationwide. See more retailers below.

The Ojai Cook:
The Best Mayonnaise & More

“Life is a banquet,” said Auntie Mame,* “and most poor bastards are starving.” If your banquet includes mayonnaise, that statement may be especially true—unless you’ve stocked up with the wonderful line of mayos from The Ojai Cook. If you truly like fine food, one taste will make you view any supermarket mayonnaise as the equivalent of the most tasteless supermarket white bread.

*You can read the book, Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis, get the original film DVD with Rosalind Russell or the DVD of the musical film, Mame, with Lucille Ball and Beatrice Arthur. In fact, get all three!

Fortunately, The Ojai Cook offers a simple and affordable solution that will invigorate every food you mix mayonnaise into, dip it into or slather it upon. Citrus, herbs and flavors you never believed could come from mayonnaise will dance on your palate. Family and friends will exclaim that the new sandwich/tuna/potato salad/deviled egg recipe is fantastic. If you currently make your own mayonnaise because you can’t abide commercial products, you may well decide that you no longer have to invest the time.

You may have seen The Ojai Cook Lemonaise—the original flavor—on the shelf of your specialty food store. It’s been around for years. Wise cooks, whether or not they live in Ojai, will pick some up, along with Garlic-Herb Lemonaise and Latin Lemonaise, and get to work re-energizing their menus. There’s also Lemonaise Light, Bite Back Tartar Sauce and Sassy Seafood Sauce (a fabulous spicy ketchup substitute). Here’s a tip: The Bite Back Tartar Sauce makes a kick-butt sandwich spread. All of the flavors are equally wonderful; the line is all-natural and certified kosher, too. Read more about them in the full review below.

  • Read reviews of more of our favorite gourmet condiments in THE NIBBLE online magazine.
  • See the Table of Contents of the August issue of THE NIBBLE, plus the prior issues archive and our most popular articles.
  • All of the Top Pick Of The Week newsletters are permanently archived on, in chronological order and by product category.
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

Sandwiches & “Stuff” For Your Mayo

Deviled Eggs Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book
Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy, by Debbie Moose. From Jamaican deviled eggs to wasabi deviled eggs, there’s a recipe for almost every week of the year—and quite a few need mayonnaise! Also, techniques for boiling the perfect egg and what plates to select for serving deviled eggs. Click here for more information or to purchase. Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini: Sandwiches, Italian Style, by Viana La Place. A fun, inventive and mouth-watering collection of sandwiches. Recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and hors d’oeuvres, including both simple and elegant bruschetta and crostini, the Italian open-faced toasts and canapés. There are sweet versions too. Click here for more information or to purchase. Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever—from Thursday Nights at Campanile, by Nancy Silverton and Teri Gelber. If you can’t get to L.A. to eat the sandwiches at Campanile, you can make them at home. Sophisticated and unusual ideas include the Fried Oyster Sandwich; Ham, Creamed Spinach and Stewed Leeks; plus “sweet sandwiches” made of cake and filling. Click here for more information or to purchase.

The Ojai Cook: Marvelous Mayonnaise



The Ojai Cook: Overview

Ojai, California lies in a valley east of Santa Barbara, approximately 15 miles inland from the Pacific coast. The name, from the language of the native Chumash tribe, means Valley of the Moon. Ojai has long been popular with the Hollywood crowd. Actors Eileen Brennan, Julie Christie, Larry Hagman, Anthony Hopkins, Larry Linville, Malcolm McDowell, Bill Paxton, Peter Scolari and Peter Strauss, among others, have lived there, as have director David Zucker, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and composer Elmer Bernstein. Fictional characters have resided there as well, from “Six Million Dollar” Man Steve Austin and “Bionic Woman” Jaime Sommers, to the 101-year-old “Titanic” survivor Rose DeWitt Bukater. Many films and television shows have taken advantage of the topography, from the Tracy-Hepburn classic “Pat and Mike” to “The Two Jakes” with Jack Nicholson (both films were shot at the famous Ojai Valley Inn and Spa).

The lead characters of the current ABC television series, “Brothers & Sisters,” the Walker family, live in Ojai, where they operate a wholesale food company, Ojai Foods.

  Ojai, California
Downtown Ojai, with its bell tower; in the background, the Topa Topa mountains. Photo courtesy of

Perhaps, being in the same business, they know The Ojai Cook. If we can blend fact and fiction, the Walkers are in the produce business, and The Ojai Cook buys lots of lemons to make its line of citrus-based mayonnaises. The Ojai Valley is home to some 2,000 acres of lemon and orange groves which inspired the founder of the company, Joan Vogel, who developed the current line (in 2005 Ms. Vogel sold the company Q and B foods, which had been manufacturing the products for her since the beginning). The original Lemonaise, launched as a local business more than 10 years ago, is now sold nationwide and even has international fans. Currently there are six sauces: five mayonnaises and a seafood sauce. The line is all-natural, carb-free, cholesterol-free, dairy-free, soy-free and non-GMO (no genetically-modified organisms). It is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.

Get a taste of the varieties of Lemonaise on the next page.

—Karen Hochman

(THE LATE STONE AGE, 10,000 B.C.E. TO 4,500 B.C.E.).


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