Husband and Wife Duo Spread Happiness with a Korean Dessert Tradition
The Covid-19 pandemic affected a lot of lives, but for Nick Ng and Ahreum Kim it was a chance to get creative using the best of their backgrounds. The newlyweds–she’s a South Korea transplant, he grew up in Minnesota–created Ooyoo, a Minnesota-based company specializing in dessert spreads. Also known as milk jams, they’re made with milk, organic cream, organic raw sugar and other all natural ingredients.
Ooyoo in noun form is the Korean word for milk. It can also be used as an adjective to describe something creamy, silky and smooth. “In South Korea, when you see someone with silky smooth skin, you say they have ooyoo skin,” explained Kim. “It means luscious and silky in texture, which is how we’d describe our spreads.”
The two, who met by chance while traveling in Montreal (Kim had played violin professionally in South Korea; Ng spent most of his career in finance and investment), realized dessert spreads were an untapped market that could use a boost of originality. “We wanted to create something that combined Ahreum’s Korean background as well as my own experiences traveling,” said Ng.
They worked hard to create spreads infused with wanderlust and nostalgia, experimenting with flavor profiles in late 2019. In October 2020, they officially launched Ooyoo.
At the moment there are three signature flavors: Earl Grey, Cinnamon and Mint Cocoa, each of which has its own usage. “Mint Cocoa tastes like a Girl Scout cookie and goes best with vanilla ice cream, pancakes or waffles,” said Kim. “Earl Grey and Cinnamon are more versatile and can go on scones or be used as secret baking ingredients. You can also put the Earl Grey spread in a cup of hot water to create an Earl Grey latte.”
The cinnamon spread is a nod to Ng’s grandmother, who would make cinnamon rolls for him and his twin brother as kids. “Making us cinnamon rolls was how she showed her love,” he said.
More flavors are on the way including a new coffee-flavored spread, as well as seasonal items.
As much as the couple pride themselves on their wholesome ingredients, they’re also increasingly aware of their environmental footprint. To that end, all materials are compostable and recyclable.
NEXT ON THE DISH