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An Interview with Cajun Heat

Hot Sauce Maker Interview, Cajun HeatFor how long have you been making hot sauce?  

I guess it’s been about 7 years now that I’ve been making hot sauce. In the beginning, I was making sauces just for my personal use, trying to find a sauce with a happy medium between heat and flavor.

What are your most popular products?

My most popular are the original products, Liquid Napalm & Voodoo Ash. The rest of the line is under a year in the making.

An Interview with Cajun HeatHow did you get started making hot sauce?

I’m a New Orleans native and grew up eating (at the time) what I considered spicy foods. The job market led me to Northern VA where I quickly missed my grandma’s home cooking so I started experimenting with different homemade sauces trying to capture the essence of New Orleans in a bottle.

When did you go commercial?

I established the LLC in early 2007, but I didn’t sell any sauce until May 2008.

How many bottles of hot sauce do you produce a year? 

Not many at all. I have a full time job and currently make all products myself. I’m looking to expand and hire a co-packer but I refuse to go into debt. This ideology forces me to stay small at the moment, but that’s not a bad thing.

Do you have a preferred chili pepper as an ingredient? 

Not necessarily. I use the habenero for my spicier products and the cayenne for the milder sauces. I’ll eventually start playing around with some other peppers but my business model is really simple…CAJUN flavor!

Aside from chili peppers, what do you feel is the key ingredient(s) in making the perfect hot sauce? 

There is no one perfect hot sauce. There are so many variations that work really well with different types of foods. It really depends on what you’re craving at the moment.  I would say a great sauce has as much flavor as it does heat.

Is there a special process you follow in making your hot sauces? 

Nope, no Voodoo magic here; the process is rather simple. My focus is on quality control as well as food safety.

Do you follow a particular philosophy to making hot sauces? 

In creating a sauce I’m looking for flavors that remind me of home. I’m looking to capture that backyard crawfish boil in a bottle. It’s all about the experience.

Do you have any other favorite spicy foods? 

I enjoy most foods. I like them all spicy, but not so spicy you can’t enjoy the flavor of the food itself.

Do you have any advice for would-be hot sauce makers making sauces at home? 

Patience! There are many forums and a lot of good people in the industry ready to help people with any issue.  But the key thing is not to rush anything. From design to incorporation to developing new recipes, it all needs to be handled with the utmost care.

Do you have any basic/favorite hot sauce recipes to share?

My favorite basic recipe is a spinach and artichoke dip with Liquid Napalm. I always have a bottle on me and it does wonders for dips served by the chain restaurants.

Imagine this sad reality: If you could have only one chili pepper the rest of your life, which would you choose? 

I don’t have a favorite pepper. I grew up eating Cayenne and Tabasco peppers but I now snack on Habenero peppers.  Did that answer the question? lol…

If your life could be turned into a movie, who would you like to have play YOU on the big screen? What might the movie TITLE be?

Well the title is already taken and anyone who knows me knows any other title other than JACKASS would be unacceptable. As far as who I would like to play me…is Jack Black available?

Any other parting thoughts? 

If you’re looking for a sauce that you can dupe your friends into trying and then laughing at his pain, Cajun Heat is not for you. If you want a quality product that balances heat and flavor then Cajun Heat is what you’re looking for. My products are versatile, especially the Voodoo Ash. It works well with just about any dish.

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