Let de Jong is 100% the kind of person you want to sit down next to at a breakfast pop-up event when you're solo because your date ditched you and a little bit hungover because that same date poured too many tequilas the night before. She's quick to laugh her bubbling-over laugh, curious and outgoing, not to mention she clearly understands how good coffee and fresh juice can help the self-inflicted wounds of an over-imbiber.
Not that we know that first-hand or anything... we're just guessing.
Let is the brains (and fire-loving taste buds) behind Let's Salsa, a hot sauce and taco truck company that spices up Amsterdam. After travelling a lot to California and Mexico and falling in love with the flavors and colors of Mexican food, Let decided to bring them back with her when she couldn't find anything similar in the Netherlands.
"Sourcing the ingredients was the first, most important step. You need fresh ingredients like tomatillo and habanero pepper. And dried chipotle. You can get them here, it's not exactly easy but you can."
She knows the importance of these ingredients well because she actually lived in Los Angeles for a spell, cooking at some of the most authentic taco trucks in the city - including one whose (literally) housemade carnitas started at 3:00 each morning in the living room of the grandfather's house. It was there that she learned how to coax real Mexican flavors out of those ingredients.
After a wildly successful Restaurant Day back in Amsterdam, where Let made tacos three ways - including carnitas of course - she bought a bakbrommer and started her own taco truck. The salsas she handmade to go with her tacos eventually found their way into bottles and onto shelves.
She loves the fusion opportunities with Mexican food and is playful with her salsa flavors - Explosive Pineapple, Red Rocket Chili Pepper and a collaboration salsa with the restaurant Louie Louie that uses salt-cured habaneros and fermented oranges are among the favorites. This one in particular warns: "For daredevils and crazy people only." YUM!
She keeps her experiences and memories from California close, using only fresh ingredients and never including preservatives, thickeners or other junk.
Inspired by the famous calavera (skull) drawings of José Guadalupe Posada, a lithographer and illustrator known as Mexico's first modern artist, Let also draws the characters for each bottle of salsa.
Posada was most known for using his illustrations as political commentary, especially the corruption of the government and the growing divide between the rich and the poor. Some of his most subversive drawings even landed him in jail.
"It's brave to stand out... and stand up to people," Let says. "And that's really inspiring."