Carly Pii, who uses the handle @chef.pii, posted a series of videos promoting her homemade condiment, drizzling egregious pools of deep magenta dressing atop gyros, fried chicken, french fries, tacos, etc. She is from Miami and she has been taking over TikTok for her signature product Pink Sauce.
Famously quiet about what her sauce even tastes like, Pii turned the greatest web mystery since cinnamon toast shrimp guy, procuring herself internet fame (or disgrace, contingent upon your perspective).
Pii had less than 1k followers on TikTok before her pin sauce went viral. But after her pink sauce, she had gained more than 80k followers with more than 3 million likes on her Tik Tok account. For anybody hawking an item on TikTok, turning into an internet sensation could seem like a dream. However, for this TikToker, it’s become to a greater extent a bad dream.
Pii last night streamed live on Tik Tok and Youtube and said “We didn’t get the opportunity like other small businesses to go through trial and error, to learn through our mistakes and recover from them,” “We didn’t have that opportunity because we blew up so fast. We went viral so fast.”
A recipe for disaster
“What would you do if y’all were in my shoes?” Pii said in her live video. “Would you just crawl in the corner and hide?”
Pii says she has been working as a private chef for four years. She is a single mom of two children. She is also a YouTuber prior to creating videos on Tik Tok where she posted dozens of YouTube videos, which ranged from live videos to weight loss vlogs, in which she followed fad diets with dubious nutritional backing during 2018 and 2020.
A month ago Pii shared her custom-made, lively pink concoction on her small TikTok account. As the chef swiftly gained millions of views on the platform, far outpacing her years-old YouTube channel, she made the decision to bottle and sell Pink Sauce for $20 a bottle and The pink sauce disaster started.
Estimating aside, her new followers saw that a few important details were missing, what does it taste like, what does it consist of, and for what reason is it pink? She even promoted its alleged medical advantages without uncovering the ingredients. “Honestly, it has its own taste,” Pii said on TikTok. “If you want to taste it, buy it.”
As she prepared to put Pink Sauce up for sale on her website, she still didn’t reveal the source of its color, this makes matters stranger, viewers noticed that in each video she posted, the shade and consistency of the sauce seemed to change.
According to a graphic on her website, the sauce got its pink coloring from dragonfruit, also known as pitaya, which grows naturally with a deep magenta pigment. Though the fruit has a mild taste, some testers described the sauce as a sweet ranch, which makes sense, given the rest of the ingredients on her graphic: sunflower seed oil, honey, chili, and garlic.
The tricky territory of creator food businesses
After exploding packages, faulty nutrition labels, and general confusion about what people are even eating, Chef Pii is today’s “main character” of the internet, which is usually not a good thing. “This is a small business that is just moving really, really fast,” Chef Pii said in an apology on TikTok.
A meme page with over 100,000 Twitter followers iterated on a meme of a picture of a hospital IV, adding the caption “DO NOT EAT THE PINK SAUCE FROM TIKTOK.” Posts like that inadvertently sparked rumors that people had gone to the hospital because of her sauce, but we haven’t seen any evidence to confirm that it’s true.
As questionable information spreads across TikTok like a game of telephone, it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction — but it’s indisputably true that Pii made some mistakes. She owned up to printing incorrect nutrition labels and accidentally mailing out Pink Sauce in packaging that caused it to explode in transit.
Despite the targeted online vitriol, Pii isn’t giving up. She said that the product is in lab testing, made in a facility, and follows FDA standards. Once it passes, she wants to try to put the product in stores. She also stated on her account that just this week, she was sending out more than 1,000 orders.