Joe & Linda Levinson
Joe & Linda Levinson reside in Columbus, Ohio and are the original minds that created this blog. They consider this a labor of love since they spend a majority of their time doing things that are unrelated to the business of the hot & spicy world. However, that doesn’t mean they’re any less interested in making sure the world knows everything there is to know about hot stuff. They take a lot of pride in making sure that the site began and remains non-commercial.
Here’s some personal information about the couple…
Joe spent many years living in both Kentucky and Florida before landing here in Columbus, Ohio. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Kentucky, and he’s a maniacal, rabid fan of UK basketball. Joe is a doctor and graduated with his D.O. degree from the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2005, and is currently in residency in Anesthesiology. Joe has been collecting hot sauces for over 13 years, but his love of hot & spicy food goes back to his formidable younger days when he used to pollute his mother’s cooking with cayenne pepper and hot sauce…then blame it on his brothers. He married Linda in 2000 and they have two sons, Ari and Joshua. A little crazy about hot sauce, he’s been known to do silly things like eat raw habaneros and taste too much extract sauce at any given time. Joe is one of the main writers for this blog.
Linda was born & lived for many years in the greater Chicago-land area. Linda also lived for many years in Austin, Texas before moving to northern Virginia in 1998 where she met Joe, then living in Baltimore, MD. Linda works a lot harder than Joe much of the time. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Ohio State University, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student in Counseling and Applied Behavioral Analysis at Nova Southeastern University in an online program. She is also the full-time mother to sons Ari, age 6, and Joshua, age 3. Ari is autistic, and is making much progress thanks to a lot of help through his school and through Linda’s efforts while Joe’s at work for 80 hours per week. Linda is every bit as much of a chilehead as Joe, but tends to like stuff a little milder sometimes and is big fan of most foods made with chipotles. Linda is responsible for almost all the creative processes involved in the design and technical components of this blog, and does some writing as well.
Here are some posts that further describe their love of hot & spicy food…
Jon Passow is a resident of Hollywood, CA, but a native of Cleveland, OH. In addition to being a rabid chilehead, he is a “quasi-famous” actor with an ever-growing list of films and TV shows to his credit. He also grows his own peppers, in addition to a wide variety of other fruits, veggies, and other miscellaneous flora. Jon has a background which includes some journalism and is passionate about his love of hot sauces and spicy food. He has also been known to sport a mullet famed in both song and story.
Here’s Jon’s Intro…
Hello! Chili-Head Jonathan Passow officially reporting in for The Hot Zone Online Blog! I’m the newest reviewer for Joe and Linda’s little blog, which I felt honored that they asked me to do reviews for them. So let me tell you a little bit about myself, since I was told that an introduction was necessary.
I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and at the ripe old age of 20, I moved out to my current local in Hollywood, CA. I am a quasi-famous actor, having had parts in Starship Troopers 2, Pirates of the Caribbean, AMC’s Movies at our House, Boston Public and many more flicks.
My love for hot products started in 2005 when Dave Reed (my roommate) and I started a garden. He loves the heat, so I was talked into putting in a bunch of peppers. After trying a few homegrown serranos, I was instantly hooked. This year’s garden includes 172 pepper plants out of 13 varieties and the peppers will be used for my own sauces, butters, jell-o, and other products.
I now am an avid chili eater and love anything hot. So much so, that if it’s not hot…I will make it hot. If i’m going out to eat, I bring my own hot sauces and dry powders because the standard Tabasco sauces just don’t cut it for me anymore.
Now that that is over, let the reviews begin! Viva la Mullet! Oh! I almost forgot…you can visit my site at www.mulletman.org and if anyone wishes to send me sample hot sauces to review, just be sure to contact Joe and Linda and they will forward you my address.
Greetings Pepper people!
I am ecstatic that Joe and Linda are going to allow me the opportunity to throw my two cents into their great sauce site. I have to admit that I have an addiction to sauces. I need help. Maybe a twelve step program to start with. I really don’t consider myself a chili head since I just can’t handle extreme heat, but I have the sauce bug none the less. As a manufacturer, my writings will tend to take on that slant, but I promise to do my best to not make you yawn.
I began crafting sauces out of my home in North Carolina back in 2004. As my business out grew my kitchen, I moved on to a co-packer. I still use my kitchen for finalizing new sauce recipes to be produced eventually. I still “cook” about 8 gallons of Carolina Pepper Sauce a week for local restaurants.
My hope here, is to review non-competitive sauces such as barbecue and mustard and to entertain you in the trials and tribulations of the manufacturing world. That’s about all I have for now, so until…….
Hey guys! My name is Sam. Some of you may already know me, but for the rest of the readers out there I will provide a brief bio. I am 38 years old and live in a suburb of Seattle called Renton (we are about 20 minutes south of Seattle or 15 minutes east of Sea/Tac airport). I am the father of 3 boys and any day now #4 is coming! I love hiking, fishing, camping, SCUBA diving, beekeeping, and of course cooking. I am painting contractor, but I also have a small hot sauce company that is named after the 2 oldest boys Zane & Zack (don’t worry Hans and his soon to arrive brother Maxx will have products of their own). I also have a passion (or maybe it’s an obsession) for food. Although most anything with at least a little zest makes me salivate, food doesn’t have to be spicy for me to enjoy it. I really like layers of flavor.
I have been lucky enough to meet some of the nicest people in the world. It’s you, the chilehead community!!! Manufacturers, collectors, consumers, foodie bloggers… Wow! Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us (’cause we had no idea what we were doing! Even now, we only have a slight clue!).
I’m going to throw this out there right now, but it will probably be different next week. Favorite sauces I am currently eating. Raw Heat Vintage ‘69, by Original Juan; Cry Baby, by Three Hot Tamales; Jolokia Havoc, by Danny Cash; and Picante Chombo, by D’Elidas. I think we have just over 40 open bottles right now.
I hope that I can write a few words now and then that are of interest to each of you. I will tell a few tales, cook a bit of food here and there, and hopefully write an article or two that stimulates positive discussions among us. Not that I expect it to all be positive though. Some heated arguments would be fun too!
Tina Brooks is a resident of Rigaud, Quebec in the Great White North of Canada and is co-owner of Brooks Pepperfire Foods (aka Peppermaster). Tina is also a long time Chilihead and spends some of her travel time in the Bahamas gathering peppers for the sauces she makes with her husband Greg. Besides making some great sauces, she’s also a lover of spicy fare of all nationalities. Although she describes herself as a “self-indulgent narcissist,” we love it when she graces our blog with her writings.
Here’s Tina’s Intro…
I have been invited to tickle your intellectual fancies with my writing style or is that stylish writings? Being somewhat of a self-indulgent narcissist, I have agreed. Although, I fear that you will have to occasionally put up with some of my ramblings.
For those of you who don’t know me. I am a Chilihead. I love all hot peppers, with the exception of the Fatalli (it tastes rude). My favourite peppers to date are the red Jalapeno and the Red Savina Habanero. I love them fresh. I love the rich sweet flavour of the pepper. It is the best thing in the world for enhancing the flavours of food — Regardless of the food.
I first started eating peppers, unbeknownst to me, in Trinidadian curries and jerks. When I first moved to Montreal, two of my roommates were Trinidadian. Their parents owned the house where I was living. The older of the two brothers, was the house cook — an excellent cook, I might add. Unfortunately, he had a very limited repertoire; all he cooked was trinidadian. More often than not, we ate rice, plantains, fish or chicken and beans. I don’t suppose I need to mention that whatever we ate was curried, and that curry was HOT!
The roommate was quite sticky about his kitchen and as such, he was the only one allowed to use it for anything other than making coffee. As such I had two options; learn to eat hot and spicy or eat out! It was fortunate for me that I fell in love with curry the first time I ever tasted it, because as a poor starving student, I really couldn’t afford to eat out.
These days, I eat hot peppers all the time. I’d probably sprinkle them on my cornflakes if I found the right pepper. I like them with lunch, with supper, even with dessert. I carry hot sauce with me wherever I go and it really frustrates me if I forget to bring one.
My husband and my co-owner of Brooks Pepperfire Foods is a Peppermaster and a Fusion Chef. He is a genius with food and capable of working with the hottest peppers, so, again, I have two options, eat hot and spicy or eat out. But this time, I eat in because I want to, not because I can’t afford not to!
I’ve got one motto in life; when in doubt, add more peppers. And, as mottos go, it seems to work.
Nick “Woody” Woods
Just a quick one to let you all know that I will be writing a bit on here about the wonderful world of chillis. Here in the UK chillis are getting very popular. A little about myself : I run Fire Foods, one of the fastest growing chilli sites in the UK, we grow a wide range of chillis and sell our homemade products at local farmers markets and a few outlets, we have been trading for around six months and in that time we have come a long way. I have just finished a Christmas market in Grantham, Lincolnshire (my home town). I also work at R.A.F Cottesmore. I work on the security side, making sure all the aircraft are safe and secure, and next year if everything works out I plan to run Fire Foods full time and travel the country spreading the word.
I also am a mod on Chillis galore the finest forum in the UK for chillis, and this year we are running a sauce contest, I will post pics etc when we have tasted in late Feb. I’m sure this will grow into a large contest with different categories.
A big thanks to Joe and Linda for this opportunity, and if anybody ever needs any help with anything chili related here in the UK please get in touch.
Well that’s it for now, its a busy time of year. By the way Joe, I will send you one of our latest products…Chilli peanut butter!
Ewa, the Swedish chilehead, is our newest writer here on the HZOB. She was discovered through winning a contest Linda threw on another site. Well, actually her dog won. It’s quite a fascinating story if you want to read about it HERE. Anyway…we believe she will bring a unique perspective to the blog as she writes about hot stuff sent to her, but mostly about what she finds overseas and what she makes with her own resources.
Here’s Ewa’s Intro…
Name is Ewa and residence is the very south of Sweden. Always loved hot food and have classmates from high school that will tell you I make the meanest chili this side of the Atlantic!
Didn’t really get into it for real though until 1999 or so when I started growing my own chile plants with seeds I took from a store bought Habanero & Jalapenos. Needless to say I got bitten and started surfing the internet for more info/people with fellow interest and found, what I believe to be Sweden’s largest Chile head – http://petterssononline.com/habanero/index.php – Mats had the courtesy to not only provide me with seeds but also with great tips on how to grow them. I was hooked! Every spring I tell myself I’m going to limit myself to only 10 different kinds of chilies and every summer I end up having at least 25! My absolute favorite is Brown Congo, but I also enjoy the subtle tastes in chipotle.
Since we grow so many chiles on our own we’ve had to find ways of using it. Just harvesting them and putting them in the freezer and then use those in stews etc didn’t seem quite right. Since hubby is a chef and I used to be one, inventing new recipes is not an issue in this house. Only problem is, most of our friends can’t handle the heat as well as we can. Some of the thing’s we make is Habanero truffles, strawberry/habanero jam & raw spiced salmon, were we use chipotle, lemon leaves and sun dried tomatoes as a paste for flavor.
Apart from growing chilies and making good use of them, we try to travel as much as possible and last trip went to Argentina/Chile were we continued our hunt for seeds. Found some fine examples of Manzano and an indefinable plant that was sold in a store that dealt in cat and dog food! Latest hunt for seeds went in a totally different direction – Read about the Naga Morich in here and went hunting on E-bay! Got the seeds and some fruit samples but it was too late in the year to plant them so that is this year’s mission.
There are 2 passions in our lives – Chiles and dogs. We got 2 Boerboels that will keep us on our feet most time, and when it’s not the girls keeping us busy it’s keeping Chili’s homepage up to date or arranging bb-meetings with our bb-friends over here. At these gatherings my chili (the stew) has become the standard food one of the meals so I’m doing my best at preaching the chile word for the Scandinavians!
My thoughts regarding writing in here are that I will try and give the readers a view on what’s the chile situation like in other places of the world. The interest in chilies has started to grow in Sweden, you now can buy a small variety of fresh and dried chilies in the supermarket and you can get a few hot sauces in the store, you won’t be able to get anything else than Tabasco and Sambal Oelek in most restaurants. So I will recon and go out and have a look at what’s available and then try to give you an angle on what’s happening and if it’s any good! I will probably also write quite a bit about cooking with chilies. And nag a bit about Chili (the dog) stealing anything and everything with chile in it!