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Image by Alyson McPhee

The Salad Lab was born during the 2020 lockdown when everyone else was baking bread. A need for fresh, healthy eating for founder Darlene and her daughter, a Junior Team USA Olympic athlete, led Darlene to start filming all of her favorite salad recipes. Her family has a chemistry interest and background, so measuring with test tubes and beakers only made sense in The Salad Lab. After garnering hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok and a large Instagram following, Darlene decided to make the fresh ingredients, Sonoma-county wines, chemistry measuring implements, and hand-crafted bowls and salad tools available so that you, too, can make fabulous salads every day! 

“I always loved salads. When I go out to lunch with friends, my regular question is, who has a good salad?  When I brought something to an event, I always brought my big bowl of salad. I live in Sonoma County, (Napa’s overlooked neighbor that doesn’t allow tour buses), glass of water, glass of wine.”

I started posting on TikTok only for my daughter, not thinking anyone but her and a few friends would see it. I found I was having so much fun researching, learning the history of each Salad, how to prepare them, unusual ingredients and the stories. People started responding so positively and supportively on TikTok. I guess I wasn’t the only one who loved a good salad and glass of wine. 


The energy of the community is contagious. Sometimes a little much. I’m sure some psychology professors are having a ball studying this whole phenomenon. For example the passion of the Greek community when I called a Salad “Classic Greek” and dared to put romaine lettuce in it (won’t do that again) or the outpouring of gratitude when I did the Maurice salad and people reminisced about their grandma taking them to the Hudson department store for lunch on a special occasion.

My goals are to keep going, do what I can, have fun and spread a little salad love. Maybe write a cookbook - stay tuned!”

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