Thomas Kostiw / Babunya’s Gourmet

Specialty Foods

Hometown: Gouldsboro, PA

Artist Website

Babunya’s Gourmet Spices features the delicious culinary seasonings of Thomas Kostiw’s mother, Janina Kostiw. Although Janina has passed away, she lives on through her spectacular seasoning blends which made her a much sought after cook throughout her life.

She was born in western Ukraine, she lived most of her life in Brazil and later the United States. For many years, she was a stay-at-home mom who spoiled her children with her fabulous cooking skills. She got her first job outside the home at Antique Furniture Store in New York’s Greenwich Village.

One Thanksgiving, her employers were hosting a special guest and needed a talented chef on short notice. Babunya agreed to cook for them. Little did she know that the special guest was none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis! Jackie O. was delighted with her cooking and asked if she might also hire Babunya in the future. You can guess what she said!

Thomas noticed that his mother used her blended gourmet spices in every dish she made and made it a point to learn the recipe. Whenever he cooked for friends or co-workers, people would ask for his gourmet spice recipes.

In January 2009, he rolled out the first batch of Babunya’s Gourmet Spices with his mother’s photograph on the bottle. For a while, Babunya would accompany Thomas to shows, pose for pictures and autograph spice bottles.

Babunya’s spices are made without any gluten, MSG, preservatives or additives. Thomas likes to say Babunya’s Gourmet Spice is “Great for Anything That Walks, Swims or Flies, Game or Tame, It’s All the Same!”