Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hellfire Hot Sauce Interview NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2015 Vendor

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Diana & Merle
Hellfire Hot Sauce

INTERVIEW BY ALLEN FRY (www.twofrys.com)
Foodie and Hot Sauce Blog NYC/BRONX

1. Merle & Diana, What is the inspiration to make hot sauce and spicy foods your business?
Merle had been growing hot peppers and making chili and other spicy foods and and turning people on to super spicy foods since he was a teenager. He also had an extensive herb garden and blended different herbs and spices together to combine flavor with heat. The first thing we did when we bought our house was to put in a huge garden and Diana quickly fell in love with the heat and flavors of the peppers and spices.

2. What is the road that led you to open Hellfire Hot Sauce?
Naturally we started creating spicy dishes using the fruits of our garden. We gave it to friends, brought it to our local bars and restaurants for the people to try and everyone raved about it. They became addicted to it, almost instantly. We were trying to figure out a way to share the flavors of the harvest all year long and it was like a light bulb when we said "why don't we bottle it up"! After bottling it up and sharing with family, friends and local restaurants and getting an amazing reaction to the sauces we thought "hey, this could be a business"! Then the toughest part....we sent it out for review and virtually every review was a 9 or 10! And in 2010 we won product line of the year from I Love It Spicy! So we decided to go for it!

3. What is the secret of your success selling hot sauces?
Dedication to trying to make the best tasting sauce out there! We have catered to chileheads and not only wanted to provide the heat that chileheads crave but amazing flavors as well! Using all natural ingredients, no extracts and choice ingredients we strive to create some of the best superhot sauces available! We use a pepper mixology in our sauces to create more complex sauces with different peppers for different flavor profiles and burns as well as complimentary herbs and spices.

4. What is the most satisfying thing about what you do, bringing the heat to the people?
The most satisfying thing is watching and hearing peoples reactions to the sauces. At first the heat is intense but, the flavor is so delicious that they end of falling in love with the sauces. Also seeing people coming up with new uses for the sauces and posting pictures of what recipes they use the sauces in and saying that they are the best they've ever tasted. A very well known example was using Blueberry Hell on ice cream not to mention mixed in with blueberry pancake batter.

Merle Hellfire Hot Sauce and Allen from Two Frys Expo 2014
5. What is the number of hot sauces/products Hellfire Hot Sauce has available and some of your hottest selling names?
We currently have 6 sauces available. Within a month we will be adding 2 more sauces. Also, 4 spice rubs and 3 barbecue sauces are in the works. Some of our hottest selling names are: Blueberry Hell, The Elixir, Devils Gold, Pure Hell, First Blood and Fear This. All are multi award winning sauces.

6. What is your favorite type of fruit and/or vegetables?
One of our favorite fruits to eat is blueberries, thus the reason Blueberry Hell was made. For its delicious flavor and antioxidants. We also love heirloom tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and the list goes on and on! We have had gardens growing all of these and more.

7. What is your favorite type of hot sauce, extreme or mild?
Any hot sauce type as long as it has good flavor.

Custom One of a kind bottle Allen Two Frys won in online contest.
This was a prototype bottle only 1 exists (1 of 1).  
8. What is your favorite type of BBQ sauce, spicy or sweet?
A combination of the two is the best! We will have 3 BBQ sauces out very soon that showcase the flavors we enjoy the most.

9. What are some of your other favorite small batch hot sauce companies?
There are so many favorites and quality makers out there that we don't want to single out any individual makers.

10. Hellfire Hot Sauce how many events do you attend each year?
We try to do all the major national events and as many local events as time allows. We really enjoy meeting the people and mingling with the hot sauce community in general.

11. Merle & Diana, what is the hottest hot sauce you have ever tried?
Aside from extract sauces, which we no longer consume...our Evil Bastard and Halloween Hell are the two hottest sauces we have ever tried or made.

Hellfire Hot Sauce Table pic from Expo 2014 NYC
12. Do you believe that hot sauce is good for you and others health?
Yes, it has been proven that hot sauce has many health benefits.

13. What are your plans for Hellfire Hot Sauce in the future?
To continue making quality sauces for the chiliheads and milder sauces for people who enjoy those. Also, making spice rubs, barbeque sauces and jerky. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating new sauces and spicy products! We feel the world is finally catching on to what we have enjoyed for many, many years.

14. How many times have you been a vendor at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo?
2 years.

15. How do you like the amount of fans and vendors that this great event brings together in one place?
We very much like this event and consider it to be one of the largest national shows other than the National Fiery Foods Show in New Mexico. We also have great respect for the high quality judges for the awards and the special events at the show. This has become one of the largest and most respected fiery foods shows in the country.

16. How can our Two Frys Blog readers order your sauces and products?

17. Any closing comments for our readers about your products and what they should try?
All 6 of the current sauces have won multiple awards and are highly favored in the Chilihead community. Each one can be used on many foods and combined in multiple recipes. In addition to these products keep an eye out for many upcoming products as well! And as a side note we have some of the most sought after hot sauce collectible bottles available! That is another whole aspect to our company. Thanks Allen!

Thanks to Diana and Merle for this look into their Hot Sauce Company, Allen 

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