Things were heating up in Kelowna’s North End on Saturday, March 4 as three fermentation-obsessed chefs came together for a hot sauce pop-up.
Held at Simps Modern Beverage on Richter Street, co-owner Gerry Jobe said he and Dave Simpson first got into making syrups and alcohol mixes after working with local chefs who opened their eyes to fermentation and creating local products by hand.
“We really wanted to give back to the people who helped us get started. Before the shop, we were a start-up brand and were always out at events, listening to people, tweaking recipes and getting feedback,” said Jobe. “And, now we have a space at the shop and it was great to be able to open it up to these three.”
Jesse Croy has been making hot sauce for five years and says each year is different when it comes to the yield and variety of the fruit.
“Basically, all I do is add salt and the peppers and whatever happens with the fermentation is based on how good the fruit is,” said Croy.
Working as a chef in the Okanagan for many years, Croy started making hot sauce because he is obsessed with fermentation. Croy has three different types of hot sauce to choose from, habanero, cayenne and jalapeño.
Hayden Duval created Brutal Condiments about six months ago. A kombucha brewer, Duval says he saw a niche in the market when there was a shortage of sriracha in 2022, due to jalapeño chilli pepper crop issues brought on by severe drought in Mexico.
“I was like sure I can make hot sauce. I have been fermenting forever, once you start you don’t really stop,” he said, adding he will be making miso next.
Ryan J. Coome has been making Big Daddy hot sauce for about a year. The five-year hotel, food and beverage veteran said he has slowly been working with Kelowna restaurants to get his product on their menus.
“We are on the verge of a lot of opportunities. We are working with Okanagan Street Food, who does Skip the Dishes, and they use our product for testing and we are trying to get our hot sauce as a Skip add-on,” said Coome.
Coome along with Croy and Duval, want Kelowna residents to switch away from brand names like Franks and toward local products.
“The feedback has been phenomenal and we have slowly been making strides, after coming out with the labels and the website, people are starting to recognize us,” said Coome.
While Croy gets his peppers from the South Okanagan, Duval sticks to Kelowna producers and Coome grows his own.
The pop-up was a success by Jobe and the hot sauce chefs standards, with dozens of people coming through the door to see how much heat they can handle.
“Hopefully we will be seeing these guy’s products in grocery stores and local boutique stores and restaurants,” said Jobe.