I'll be 62 this year, and have been in the food business since I was 14. I've done just about any and every job. Until my late twenties I worked in all manner of professional kitchens from delis and the Bethesda Naval Hospital mess hall to fine dining establishments all over the country. My positions progressed from grill cook to head chef.
I worked in the seafood market of the Maryland Food Distribution Center designing HACCP plans and creating recipes for commercial customers. After that I started a gourmet catering business. In the mid 90's a friend had so many chilies in his garden he didn't know how to use them.
In Silver Spring, MD there's a seafood restaurant called Crisfields that's been open since the forties. I've been going since the early 70's. One of the bartenders, now long retired made a pepper sauce we used on everything. My first Sauce Dragonfire was a gourmet tribute to Ned's sauce from Crisfields. The recipe is unique and uses an acidification process I invented to infuse vinegar with fresh chiles.
Each sauce uses three kinds of real peppers with no extracts, chemicals or emulsifiers. I made the first batch in the kitchen and the boiling vinegar chased everyone out of the house including the dog. People loved it so much I would make enough every year to last for me and as gifts for family and friends.
In 2006, I created Infusion Hot Sauce Company. I had been making the original Dragonfire formula and Firepower for a long time by then so those were the first commercial products. Through friends I contacted RipBang pictures to do my art work. We've won Scovie Awards for the logo and gift box designed after Hypernova was added.
This was still before superhots, and at the time it was one of the hottest naturally made sauces in the USA. In 2007 we were invited to the China International Condiment and Food Additive Exhibition in Changsha, Hunan. Ours is the only American gourmet hot sauce ever sold in China. We added Mango Bango and Mister Pig dry rub in 2008 and have been going strong for 10 years now.
Mango Bango is probably our most popular sauce. The real mango purée gives a sweet start and the peppers, including ghost chilies give it a kick finish.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Cottage Lane Kitchen was founded by me in 2010, and it isn't only my business name, but also refers to a secret lane in Chapel Hill, NC where our family homestead was built in the 1950s. Four generations of my family have cooked and preserved spicy peppers out of love and tradition in that kitchen.
The last homemade batch of my family's spicy pepper relish was made by my Grandfather in the early 1990s. He grew chilies around the outside of the house and harvested and pickled them during my summer visits. I remember him watering the empty tin cans he buried beside each pepper plant.
Normally the Craft Hot Sauce Podcast interviews hot sauce makers all over the world. This episode is more of a riff from Brian the host about some of the things his hot sauce company Craic Sauce got up this summer.