I got into it through my chilli-addiction, a tendency to experiment in the kitchen and a desire to work for myself. I started making my own hot sauces back in 2010 when I tried to remember a lost piri-piri recipe. Unsurprisingly I ended up using the wrong ingredients and quantities - but that turned out to be v1 of our Original Zingy Pepper hot sauce. Word spread amongst friends and family when I started giving it away in Christmas hampers. Things began to snowball and the turning point was last year when I finally decided to quit my job as a Finance Manager and pursue my dreams! I now realise the importance of your heart being truly in to what you do each day.
Absolutely - we aim to always give an audacious flavour kick without ever using artificial additives or things you wouldn’t recognise. This really stems from me being an average guy with an interest in food and what goes into it. I think the concern for what one really eats is a growing trend that will only go in one direction. I mean does the average person know what xantham gum actually is? Or potassium sorbate, or citric acid? Obviously they’re safe to eat, but personally I’d rather eat things that I actually recognise and understand. Now, keeping this promise brings various challenges. For example making our hot sauces requires small batches - the creaminess comes from emulsifying in rapeseed oil, which works better in smaller quantities with the right balance of ingredients and moisture.
The Screaming Pepper was only meant to be a festival one-off but it has been our top seller so far which I definitely wasn’t expecting, so it now sits firmly in our core range! Our Original Zingy Pepper hot sauce and Hot Tom ketchup have also been in strong demand and these two have always been the favourites amongst friends and family.
That’s such a revealing question! My staple hot sauce of choice always changed a lot over the years but my most recent favourite, up until I started looking closely at additives, was Cholula which I still think tastes delicious.
One sauce you will always see in my fridge these days is Thai fish sauce which is so pungent yet gives such magical results - a dash added to lime juice, chilli, sugar and a glug of oil gives the most wonderful dipping sauce or dressing!