Boutte native creates new spice line

Boutte native Iman Gros has created Dat Blend - her own line of food seasoning.

Imani Gros has created a name for herself with her cooking business Mani Meals, and now the Boutte native has expanded her brand to include a spice line called Dat Blend.

“I’ve spent about three years thinking about it,” Gros said of expanding into the seasoning space. “I wanted to keep my passion for cooking and I didn’t want to get burnt out on it.”

Gros said she started looking into creating her own spice offering after people kept asking her how they could recreate the seafood creations she sells.

“I kept telling people I wouldn’t give them my recipe,” she said laughing. “With the new year I told myself that I’m always helping other people with their dreams, and I told myself it’s my turn.”

Website development, creating inventory, designing nutrition labels, and purchasing a bar code all came next, and the first run of Mani Meals Seafood Dat Seasoning recently sold out on the same day that Gros announced the launch on Facebook.

“My mouth dropped,” she said. “I was just shocked. I didn’t expect to get that much love and support. It was kind of a boy that cried wolf situation because I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to do this, and looking at the sales coming in I was like, ‘Wow…I’m really doing this.’”

Gros said when she was growing up cooking was a family affair.

“The art of creating seasoning … I learned that from them,” she said of her mother and grandparents.

By tweaking her mom’s recipe and using less salt and more herbs, Gros created her first seasoning offering meant for seafood.

“It’s intended for seafood, but can really be used on any kind of meat” she said. “It’s something to cook your food with but people have told me they also use it like Tony Chachere on their cooked food. When you use it there’s nothing else you need to use.”

Gros said Hebert’s Seafood in Boutte will soon carry her blend, and that she is in talks with Majoria’s Grocery store to carry her seasoning as well.

“Right now this is something that I’m doing on the side, but I hope to grow it into something more full time,” she said, adding that next in the spice lineup will be a BBQ shrimp seasoning followed by a lambchop blend and then a seasoning best used on chicken and fish.

“I want to be as big as Tony Chachere,” she said. “I want to be the female Chachere … I’m not going to lie to you. After Hurricane Ida I lost everything … I was literally at ground zero. I would just tell people, ‘Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep going for them no matter what obstacles come your way. Don’t let anything stop you and no one tell you that you can’t do what you want to do.’”

For more information on Dat Blend, visit


About Monique Roth 919 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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