My first and accidental forays begun really at school eating and stealing noodles from Asian classmates. I was addicted to noodles as a teenager and was accused by one teacher as being “the most efficient calorie burner I’ve ever met”. I didn’t necessarily associate the flavours of Korean, Chinese and Japanese noodles with heat or spice it was mostly the meat or fish flavour I was drawn too.
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.
My first memories with hot sauces really came from eating amazing food growing up in the cultural melting pot of Southern California. Whether it was finding a homemade sambal or sriracha from the Mongolian BBQ or Ramen Joint, to eating a hoard of $.59 street tacos from the taqueria with their buffet of fresh salsas, peppers and heat grabbed me at a young age. I would say a ton of my influences come from emulating that fresh homemade feel into sauces that aren’t just for one particular dish, but can be used with any recipe, any time.
I (Deja) came to love hot sauce while growing up in Southern California, eating house made hot sauce from a little hole in the wall Mexican food restaurant in high school. It was only a drive- thru but it had the best burritos and the hot sauce that I have ever had. This was the inspiration for our Morita sauce. My true love of cooking with chilies began when I became the executive chef at a boutique Thai and Indonesian fusion restaurant in Manhattan Beach California where I worked with two wonderful Thai ladies
Newks Hot Sauce is a company based out of Portland, Oregon that started right at the end of 2019, before the pandemic shook the world. Jake Newcomb (hence the name NEWKS), started a Kickstarter campaign to get the company off the ground. The humble goal of $3,000 was hit within 24 hours, and Newcomb was able to take those funds to purchase a business license, sign up for an acidified food processor license, get business insurance, buy cooking equipment, and all the other miscellaneous startup costs.
I have memories of getting gifts from my friends of hot sauce from all their travels, dragging my friends to hot sauce conventions so we can try them all day long, and embarrassing my friends as I take my travel size sauces out of my purse when the restaurant didn’t have any.
Debra Sandler is a doer. She is a perfect example of someone with high ambitions who has never forgotten her family and her roots. With over 30 years of experience in corporate America, she has now turned her focus to Bazodee, a Caribbean-inspired, natural, family-driven line of pepper sauces and marinades.
Laura and Jared of Poor Devil Pepper Company share their journey with starting their fermented hot sauce company, collaborating with artists, sourcing from local farmers, and their zero waste approach.
The Kitchen Garden is a 45-acre organic specialty vegetable farm located in Sunderland, Massachusetts. Tim Wilcox and Caroline Pam started the farm in 2006 after meeting at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City in 2003, where they both worked as market managers.