The HGSC story starts in rural northern California where I grew up in the coastal town of Eureka. It's a relatively small town where the primary industries were forestry, fishing, and tourism that touted the exquisite beauty of the coast redwoods that are indigenous to that part of the country.
Mom was a teacher's aide in the Eureka City Schools for 24 years. Dad was the city gardener at Sequoia Park Garden and Zoo for 38 years. My interests in music and movies were fueled by wonderful educators in the public schools and at Humboldt State University. I also received a weekly dose of film criticism from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel on the local PBS station. Additionally, good food was a staple in our household with most meals made from scratch by my parents, with some help from my sister and me, and where many ingredients were culled from our own garden! It was during these formative years that I was also introduced to spicy dishes from some of the wonderful Mexican restaurants in our community.
Through the many years since moving east I have gravitated toward various cuisines, once while viewing DVD extras where one of my favorite film directors created a cooking tutorial on Aloo Gobi. This is one of my favorite dishes to make for others, and it was my introduction to garam masala, a rich Indian spice blend. At the root of sharing food with my family and friends is always a desire to explore flavors. Sometimes the combination works out wonderfully, other times not so much, but always with a vision to improvise and make something amazing.
Although cookbooks have become less prevalent in kitchens today in deference to Pinterest and Google searches, I still work out of a small recipe binder of favorites from home. I also enjoy trying recipes from my copy of The California State Grange Cookbook from 1985 which was passed down to me by my parents who already had another copy from my maternal grandmother Nellie Smith. This other copy interestingly had a hand written note in it when my grandmother was gifted it that honestly looks like it reads “To Hell With Love.” (Who says the Palmer method isn’t still needed?)
So, full disclosure, my wife Susan actually does most of the cooking in our home due to our schedules and her excellent knack for planning meals ahead. Her meals are always very delicious and flavorful but she can't stand the heat, so when I make hot sauces in our kitchen, she has to leave the planet for a time due to the fumes…
AND ESTABLISHING HGSC:
In 2017 our son Nathan introduced me to the YouTube hit show Hot Ones which first aired two years earlier. It’s a unique celebrity interview show with a very talented and engaging host Sean Evans who does extensive research on his guests and asks increasingly more probing questions as both he and the guest munch through 10 chicken wings that steadily climb the Scoville heat unit scale. It’s an intriguing twist to an interview format, with great questions and answers, and it rekindled my own enjoyment of spicy sauces from when I was growing up.
After being gifted 10 superhot pepper plants from Mom in 2019, I began experimenting with recipes for sauces, using different types of hot peppers. My small kitchen batches would often be shared with friends and family, and through this supportive crew of family, neighbors, friends and work colleagues, I am taking the plunge into the hot sauce business! My focus is on flavor first and adding the heat, and I’ve started at both ends of the spectrum. Certainly through this last year of the virus lockdown and isolation, there is an overall desire of people looking for something new and different, to explore their own palate tolerances and to try new foods. I truly hope you enjoy my sauces and tell your friends and family as well.