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by Mia Torres

It’s no surprise that hot sauce is taking the world by storm. From Sriracha to Gochujang hot sauce, there are many to choose from, from mild to extreme hot — but one thing is for sure, they’re all yummy. Dare to try them all?

This guy does! Meet Kendall Stradler, a hot sauce enthusiast, or in his words a “Hothead”, which is a term used to describe a person that is a lover of all things spicy and hot. Kendall also manages the blog, “Tasting The Heat”. He lives for trying different sauces, tasting them on different foods, as well as reviewing them and he loves it! If he’s not sweating and his eyes aren’t watering, he’s not happy!

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Mia: How did you first get interested in hot sauce?

Kendall: It started earlier on in my teens. It was just trying the Red Hot or Frank’s that was on the table at the restaurant. There really wasn’t much out there at the time. The first hot sauce I actually bought was Clancy’s Fancy which is made in Ann Arbor, MI. That one sauce started me on my spicy quest to find better and better tasting hot sauces. Now there are thousands of excellent small-batch hot sauce makers out there. I’m amazed at how many awesome makers there are. That’s one of the reasons I started Tastingtheheat.com.

Hot sauces and condiments such as BBQ, mustards, ketchups and other sauces are one of the biggest growing businesses.

Mia: Do you have plans on releasing your own hot sauce brand?

Kendall: I have talked to a maker to possibly making a Tasting The Heat brand, but nothing certain at this time. I really think I have some winning ideas of flavors that just haven’t been introduced to the hot sauce world. I feel after tasting hundreds and hundreds of different sauces I know what works well together and brings the most flavor with the right amount of heat. I feel a great hot sauce should make you say WOW when you first try it, the heat is an added bonus. There is a fine line of being too hot or not hot enough to make a great sauce.

Mia: How often do you use hot sauce on your food?

Kendall: Every day! Yes, really all the time. It seems the more I use, the more of an obsession I have with the flavors and heat that they add. I have even used some real sweet hot sauces on ice cream and cakes such as Mind Flay from Sam and Oliver.

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Mia: What’s the hottest sauce you’ve had?

Kendall: The hottest and the hottest with fantastic flavor are two different things. The hottest was FLASHBANG from Pepper Palace. This was extremely hot. Not much flavor because it was a pepper extract — great for cooking or adding to Chile or sauces. The hottest I have on Tastingtheheat.com that has amazing flavor is Pittsburgh Style Hot Sauce from Allegheny City Farms. I’m not saying there isn’t something hotter, but these are just the ones I’ve tried or reviewed.

Mia: What plans do you have in the future for Tasting The Heat?

Kendall: I really want to take Tasting The Heat mainstream and get my own TV show. There are thousands of fantastic gourmet, small-batch sauce makers that never really get to be known outside of their home areas. I want to show the world all the amazing makers of these sauces and spicy foods. Most of the time when you find different brands of hot sauces, there really isn’t much information on what it tastes like or its heat. This way people can recall what I’ve shown them and buy with confidence without wasting their money. Just like what I’m doing now with Tastingtheheat.com, but on a much bigger media format.

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