Big Spoon is influenced by Lani’s Cantonese upbringing, Nate’s near-decade of life abroad in China, and their collective exploration of New York City’s three Chinatowns together when they were in graduate school.

The two of them began mixing their own chili crisp in their Brooklyn apartment in 2019 and sharing jars with friends and family. In 2021, they scaled the recipe for the first time to raise money for AAPI-led community relief organizations, when attacks on AAPI elderly were at an all-time high.

Today, they have combined their backgrounds in visual storytelling and cocktail mixology (the requisite NYC media professional survival skills) with their love for local, seasonal produce to create a community-driven sauce brand that showcases their favorite flavors.

Lani and Nate were both raised in Northern California and made Sonoma County their home in 2020, where they’re fortunate to live in close proximity to an abundance of small scale producers and adventurous diners. They’re still mixing batches of chili crisp by hand at a rented kitchen space in the town of Occidental, surrounded by coastal redwoods.

If you're in the area, stop by and say hi to them at an upcoming farmers’ market in Sonoma County!


nathan bender and lani chan

Photo: Marielle V Chua

 Photo: John Burgess for The Press Democrat