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2017 Screaming Mi Mi Awards Are Coming!

screaming-mi-mi-awards-nyc-hot-sauce-expoIf You Want To Be The BEST Then You Have To WIN The BEST!

The NYC Hot Sauce Expo is pleased to present the 2017 Screaming Mi Mi Awards Show on April 22nd. Each year hundreds of hot sauce companies from around the globe compete and try to win the most esteemed and most admired award in the hot sauce industry. Past winners have been featured on TV, national magazines, newspapers and blogs which has lead for their product distributed by wholesalers and national retail outlets.

This year the Screaming Mi Mi Awards have partnered with Peppers.com, Fuego Box, Chile Pepper Magazine and the Scott Roberts hot sauce blog. These companies are the most respected and leading outlets within the hot sauce community. “I wanted to maximize the profile of the winners and there is no better way than to partner up with these amazing companies” states Seabury organizer of the NYC Hot Sauce Expo. “I want spicy connoisseurs to have easy access to the BEST Hot Sauces in the World and the BEST are Screaming Mi Mi Award winners” adds Seabury.

The 2017 Hot Sauce Hall of Fame Final Ballot

Hot-Sauce-Hall-of-Fame-Crest-LogoThe Hot Sauce Hall of Fame is proud to announce the 3rd Annual Hall of Fame ballot for the Class of 2017. With almost 800 nomination ballots voted on from the Selection Committee, the Hall was able to determine the Top 10 people for the final ballot.

This year the Hall will induct 3 people to the Class of 2017 on April 22nd at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo‘s main stage. The Class of 2017 will receive a distinctive Red Jacket, Hall of Fame Ring and will be enshrined with legendary of honors into the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame

Pepper Palace Joins Forces With ZestFest To Help Market and Promote Best Spicy Food Products

zestfest-ffc-marketing-with-pepper-palaceDALLASDec. 10, 2016PRLog — As an industry leader, Pepper Palace is interested in mentoring smaller companies and encouraging their participation in ZestFest and the Fiery Food Challenge as a way to grow their business and promote the fiery food industry. The Fiery Food Challenge is a featured event at the annual spicy food show, ZestFest, produced by Spicy Food Productions, LLC.  Each year a panel of expert judges comes to ZestFest in search of the best products in the spicy food category.  Last year’s 20th Anniversary Edition of the Fiery Food Challenge was dominated by the products entered by Pepper Palace.  This year Pepper Palace has decided to hold off from entering to allow new and developing artisan companies an opportunity for increased exposure and the chance to win the prestigious Golden Chile award.

Pepper Palace was founded by Craig and Tanya Migawa in 1989 as a kiosk in a Central Wisconsin Mall and soon expanded to include two inline retail locations. After successfully operating in Wisconsin for eight years, a family trip inspired a move south to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Pepper Palace opened their first Gatlinburg location in 1997 in a small storefront on the outskirts of town. Several moves were made to better, larger locations until finally reaching its current location in 1999, a 3000 square foot spot in a prominent Gatlinburg Mall. This was, and continues to be, the largest spicy themed specialty retail location in the world. Pepper Palace entered the online arena in that same year by launching pepperpalace.com.

Pepper Palace began expansion efforts by…

Firetalkers – Interview with Guinness World Record Carolina Reaper Eating Champ Greg Foster

greg-foster-guinness-world-record-holder-carolina-reaper-chile-pepper-eating-contestJust a few weeks ago at the first annual Arizona Hot Sauce Expo, daredevil chile pepper eater Greg Foster of Irvine, CA break the Guinness World Record for consuming the largest amount of Carolina Reaper chile peppers in one minute.
Greg was able to set a new record by munching down a mind-blowing 120 grams of Carolina Reapers (which came out to be 16 pepper pods) within 60 seconds. These Guinness World Record Reaper Challenges are held at all of the hot sauce expos produced by Steve Seabury and High River Sauces, which included the aforementioned Arizona Hot Sauce Expo, plus the NYC, California, and Portland Hot Sauce Expos.

For those of you who don’t know, the Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper peppers are the Guinness World Record hottest chile, and average at around 1,569,300 units of the Scoville Heat Scale. Carolina Reapers were developed and grown by Ed Currie of the PuckerButt Pepper Company.

So how exactly did Greg did it? I recently chatted with him and asked him how he got into fiery foods, what he did to prepare himself for this challenge, and what it was like to go through the nuclear heat pain after consuming all of those chile peppers…

The NYC Hot Sauce Expo Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary

5th-new-york-city-nyc-hot-sauce-expo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2016

The NYC Hot Sauce Expo Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary

New York’s own High River Sauces proudly presents the 5th Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo on April 22nd & 23rd 2017. The NYC Expo will feature up to 45 artisanal hot sauce makers from all over the United States and as far as Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and South America. The NYC Hot Sauce Expo has grown into an International Hot Sauce celebration. Witness the action packed event with hot sauce tastings, eating challenges, spicy food vendors, craft beer, spicy cocktails and plenty of odd ball entertainment for the whole family…

Blast From the Past – CaJohns Open House Diary and Photos

cajohns-building

The following is my recollection from the CaJohns Open House event from Monday, August 2, 2010. These open houses were held at the CaJohns Fiery Foods facilities in the Columbus, Ohio area the day after the Weekend of Fire Hot Sauce Expo. These were CaJohn’s way of providing excellent free food and commeraderie for chileheads owners of sauce companies. In addition to the post-WOF open houses, these get-togethers were also held in conjunction with other events such as the Columbus North Market Fiery Foods Festival, and were an absolute blast for anyone attending!

Having been guided by my iPhone’s GPS/Map app, I was the first visitor to arrive at the new CaJohns facilities in the northern Columbus, Ohio suburb of Westerville. Not knowing where to park or even if this was even the correct building, I pulled the Roberts family truckster into a large back parking lot. I noticed the familiar white and yellow CaJohns van pulling out of a spot and heading around to the front of the building and I followed suit. John “CaJohn” Hard bounded out of the drivers seat and gave me a welcoming handshake. For a few minutes he chatted about the chile pepper plants (among them some Bhut Jolokias) that were planted out in front of the building before we darted inside.

CaJohn first showed me the impressive trophy for the inaugural Reviewers Cup, a competition to see which hot sauce blogger was able to taste and identify ingredients in food most accurately. He confided in me a couple of hints as to what the contest would have in store for us. Prior to this, I had no idea what to expect (would we sample hot sauces? A dish of a multi-ingredient, mish-mash of components such as chili or jambalaya? Or would Chef Steve concocted something special and completely unanticipated for us?). CaJohn said that it would be simpler and that blogger participants would taste ingredients common to hot sauces and salsas. Hmmm…

Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire X – 10 Years of Heating Up the Midwest

weekend-of-fire-x-10-2016

Are you serious? Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire fiery foods show is already turning 10 years old? Outrageous!

The venerable Weekend of Fire (or WOF for short) is an expo that will always remain special to me. Why? It was one of the first hot sauce festivals of any kind that I’ve attended. Unlike more “national”, larger-scale events like the Fiery Foods Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico or ZestFest in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas area, the WOF felt a little more like “home” in its more centrally-located digs in Fairfield, Ohio, inside of the Cincinnati metro area. During the first several years of the WOF, the Jungle Jim’s staff graciously let us fiery foods bloggers have our own booth (which we’ve used for various purposes, from being a “hub” to plug in and charge our electronic devices to raising money for charities) at the show. Us bloggers have been able to give massive amounts of input into the show, including the schedule structure and eating contests. We’ve recorded chilehead round table podcast episodes there on the premises. The WOF’s venue is the Oscar Event Center, which is technically a part of Jungle Jim’s International Market, one of the greatest supermarket experiences in the world. Last, but not least, the WOF has often coincided with the unaffiliated CaJohn’s Open Houses 90 minutes northeast in Columbus, Ohio, itself a lighter, fun excursion for hardcore chileheads.

And now…this li’l ol’ show has been going on for ten years? Where in the world has the time gone?

Anyway, this year’s Weekend of Fire marks a return of the Roberts clan to the event. We’ll be hitting most, if not all, of both days it is open – Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd. If you happen to see any of us wondering about the show floor, feel free to stop and say “hi!”

If you are looking for any reason to attend, let me give you a few:

There are plenty of fun eating contests to participate in or just watch (merely witnessing eager contestants scarfing down large quantities of scorching hot buffalo wings, hot dogs, pie, pizza, and more while sweating and turning lobster-red is a blast in and of itself). A full schedule of food battles can be found at…

SauceFest LLC Announces Postponement of Festival

saucefest-houston-txGourmet Food and Music Festival Postponed Until 2017

Houston, TX | August 1, 2016:

SauceFest LLC (“SauceFest”) regrets to announce that the gourmet food and music festival’s inaugural run has been postponed until the fall of 2017. The event was originally scheduled to take place October 22-23, 2016 on the streets of East Downtown Houston. The festival is now tentatively scheduled for October 2017.

To ensure that SauceFest 2017 brings the heat, iBurn® is working with Houston’s own Pegstar Concerts to deliver a music lineup that only Pegstar can deliver. The 2-day festival will also feature gourmet food products with heat levels ranging from mild to the world’s hottest, craft beer and liquor brands, local restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and eating…

2016 Oxnard Salsa Festival

oxnard-salsa-festival 20162016 Oxnard Salsa Festival
23rd Annual Festival

Celebrating Salsa – The Food, the Music & the Dance!
July 30-31, 2016
Plaza Park, Downtown Oxnard
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Free Admission and Parking

Oxnard, CA – Get ready to spice things up during the 23rd Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival!  One of Oxnard’s signature events, the Oxnard Salsa Festival celebrates salsa food, music and dance on July 30-31, 2016 at Plaza Park, Fifth and “B” Streets, in historic downtown Oxnard.

Presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, the annual event features spicy food and hot entertainment, attracting an estimated 45,000 salsa lovers to the City of Oxnard for the two-day action-packed…

Summer Fest – One Weekend, Three Festivals

sun-prairie-wisconsin-summer-feast-bacon-brew-bbq-festThe ultimate festival for food lovers, families & craft beer enthusiasts in Wisconsin.

The Summer Feast is a 3-day celebration from June 24-26th in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (near Madison), featuring specialty cuisines, craft beers and music. Each day, Chefs focus on different flavors which makes each day of the festival unique. There are activities for kids and adults, live music, Junior Chef Competitions and much more. The Friday & Sunday events offer free admission, are family-friendly and allow for multiple food choices at affordable prices. Saturday is for adults 21 and up and is an All-You Can Eat & Drink Festival which requires an advance ticket purchase. Enjoy three of the most unique food festivals, all in one location, all in one weekend…

Hot Sauce Festival Season Heats Up in 2016

new-hot-sauce-festivals

Just when you think things couldn’t get any hotter, think again.

More fiery foods events are being set ablaze all of the U.S. this year. And while more events does not necessarily equal satisfaction and success on all levels, there are a handful of events – including a pair of new expos – that have an excellent chance of elevating the chilehead community to another exciting level. Why, you might ask? Because they are produced or co-produced by none other than Steve Seabury himself, the man behind the hugely successful New York City Hot Sauce Expo.

Both returning for a second go-around are the California Hot Sauce Expo and the NJ Taco Festival.

The California Hot Sauce Expo, scheduled for July 16th and 17th, is similar in a lot of ways to the kick-ass NYC event in its formatting, with vendors galore and spicy eating contest, just instead hosted in sunny Long Beach, CA as opposed to the cool, crisp Brooklyn streets.

The NJ Taco Festival, while alike in a…

Weekend of Fire 2012 Diary and Photos

weekend-of-fire-2012-wof-johnny-mclaughlin

Another Weekend of Fire is in the record books. While there are always things that can be improved (more on that later), I feel the experience overall was a positive one for virtually all parties involved.

My own journey began on Friday afternoon. Shortly after my two boys came home from school, my youngest son, Kevin, and I hit the highway eastbound and down towards Cincinnati. It was rainy all day in Missouri, so I was hoping for a little break in the wet weather. We had no such luck, as torrential downpours followed us all the way through Illinois and Indiana. Right after we crossed the Ohio border, the rain slowed and ceased completely within 30 seconds. Kevin and I made our way to the familiar confines of the Holiday Inn Express in Fairfield (where we were sharing a room with Al “Buddah” Goldenberg of I Love It Spicy, just down the road from Jungle Jim’s International Market, and crashed.

Saturday

Our morning began with breakfast and a trip to the Jungle Jim’s store. 12-year-old Kevin was enthralled by the shear enormity and selection of the place. I stocked up on a few hot sauce items not sold at the Weekend of Fire Show in the Oscar Event Center upstairs, dashed out to my truck to grab my laptop bag, and went into the show. It was still T-minus one hour before showtime, so Kevin and I had ample opportunity to stroll around and view all the booths as they were being set up for the day and got to meet some of the vendors, both old friends and new exhibitors to the show…