Adam Guerriero’s Hot Sauce Collection
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Adam Guerriero. I am 24 years old, born and raised in Frankenmuth, MI. I am currently Executive Chef at the Wolverine-Dilworth Inn located in Boyne City, MI. This is Northern Michigan, far away from the comforts of any convenience whatsoever. It must also be extra far away from the sun, because it’s cold. Nothing would warm my insides right now more than staring at my very own “Cutting Room Floor” set! Please help me make it through this winter!
My hot sauce collection started out as a gift. I was enrolled in Culinary School right after high school, and everyone used this as an excuse to give me nothing but food-themed gifts for years to come. Pots, pans, whisks, knives, etc., etc., and then finally… hot sauce. My first four sauces came in a set, one of those sets you’d probably see at the Dollar General, with Howlin’ Hot Cayenne Sauce, Pecos Creek Mean Green Habanero, Famous Jake’s Chipale, and Crystal Classics Habanero Sauce. I have always loved all things spicy, my mother swears to me that I wouldn’t eat any food as a baby until she mixed a dash of Tabasco into it. But I never had HOT.
These first four simple sauces seemed to spark that primitive urge inside me that had been lying dormant somewhere in the recesses of my mind. That spark turned into a flame, which is now burning like a raging inferno somewhere in the seventh circle of hell (my stomach)! I definitely enjoy eating fire, but I LOVE collecting it. I buy every new sauce that I come across, but in these parts that’s no easy task. I know my collection is modest, especially compared to some chiliheads who dedicate more money than I’ve ever seen, but that’s why this contest excites me.
This is my chance. A chance for the little guy to have something that every collector, no matter how big, will envy. Something that I can look at every day to make me Feel Alive! I love all my sauces, but Blair’s products are different. The skull, the color, the label, everything about them makes them stand out. When people come to my house, they don’t say “Hey what’s that Washington Redskins hot sauce over there?” Of course not! They want the Blair’s Reserve! “What the hell are those?!” “They cost HOW much??” “Amazing!” I’ve heard it all, but us Chiliheads understand. I greatly admire Blair, and I greatly admire his work and his sauces. Collecting hot sauces is great fun to me. The hunt for new sauces is what keeps me going.
Sure, I could go on the internet right now and order every sauce known to man, but what fun would that be? Who would feel good about that? Collecting should not be about “Hey! Look at Me! I spent ten thousand dollars buying everything and now my kids will never be able to go to college! Look at how much I spent! I’m eating out of Dumpsters!” By hunting them down, buying them on trips, and receiving them as gifts, every hot sauce now has a story to go along with it. Just like a hunter would have a story for each buck on his wall, my wall of hot sauces is like a monstrous story of memories, over 130 chapters long. All those hunts, and all those scorched taste buds. “The Cutting Room Floor” is the greatest hunt of them all. The one no one has seen and the one that I can’t get. I am Captain Ahab and this is my White Whale.
My biggest and most common use for hot sauce is to keep me focused, sharp, and on task during my day’s work. I love that hot feeling in my mouth so much, it’s like an addiction. There are times of the day, when I’m working away in the kitchen, and my mind starts slipping. My work gets slower, I start daydreaming, and my body starts to fatigue. I grab a little cup of chili, add a few drops of Sudden Death, and BOOM! I’m back on task! My eyes light up, I get my act together, and I’m rip-roaring-ready to go! This move has got me through countless 15-16 hour days on the weekends. If I’m in a real rush, with 50 tickets hanging in the window and hot pans on the stove, I just dip a frill pick in the bottle and swipe it in my mouth. It works miracles I tell you! As much as hot sauces “fire” me up, the also act on the opposite end of the spectrum, and serve a different purpose.
My hot sauce collection is like also like my Zen Garden. It’s my way of relaxing, releasing pressure, cooling down after twelve grueling hours slinging scorching sauté pans. After all the crashing, burning, yelling and commotion in the kitchen, I can come home to peace and tranquility in my Hot Sauces. It may seem like a strange twist of irony – toxic hot sauces calming me down – but it works for me. I look at all my favorite sauces, fondle my Blair’s Reserves (this makes my fiancée a bit jealous), and maybe pick out which one I’ll open for my late night snack. I rearrange them, shuffle them around, and give some lesser-known guys the good spot in front for a couple days. Sure, this might creep out my fiancée a bit, but she understands now. I love them! Just not as much as her of course (wink, wink.)
Some of my favorite sauces are:
- Kryptonite Hot Sauce – The first sauce I ever bought myself 6 years ago, and I love Superman
- Hot Blog Sauce #3/144 – C’mon, who doesn’t love hotsauceblog.com? Sweat ‘N Spice Rules!
- Defcon Zero #114 – This new company makes the best wing sauce ever, and I love limited release bottles like this. Signed and numbered bottles always hold a place close to my heart.
- Blair’s Sudden Death – My definite all-time fave, just perfect and hotter than hell. I bought a 12-case on Ebay and it’s starting to dwindle!
- Blair’s Holiday Reserve #48/99 – I love all my Blair’s Reserves, but I felt extra awesome for scoring this one! Only 99 in the WHOLE WORLD! That’s hard for me to imagine, but I am very lucky.
- Sauza Tequila Hot Sauce – I love bottles that stand out and break the mold a bit. This one is bright gold and it tastes great to make it even more awesome! I killed seven bottles of this sauce in recent memory!
- Blair’s LeMillion #411, 425, 852 – Having one of Blair’s Reserves makes me giggle like a schoolgirl, having THREE of a reserve? Well, I won’t go there.
Here are some sauces that I just don’t understand/like at all:
- Harrison’s Habanero – I love babies as much as the next guy, but the screaming baby picture on the bottle doesn’t really fire up my appetite. I kind of angers me, really,
- The Ultimate Burn – Wait, maybe I like this one… Hot Sauce, and nudity? Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. If it hurts when you get it in your eye… you know where I’m going with this.
- Capt’n Sleepy’s Hot Sauce – A moon with a sailor hat over the ocean? What does that have to do with anything? And why is it “Quintessential”?
- Feel the Heat – A hot couple is shown on the beach in bathing suits, and the bottle comes with mini-handcuffs attached. Am I missing something here? Who uses handcuff on the beach, other than to drown someone?
- Washington Redskins Hot Sauce – I have no idea where this sauce came from, but I’m assuming that someone found it for me at a garage sale. I don’t like the Redskins and I don’t like this sauce! It just bothers me.
- Emeril’s Kick It Up Sauce – I, like many professional chefs, find Emeril to be a complete moron sell-out. He sold out to the Food Network, and now he throws herbs to impress old ladies. I am sure he had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of this sauce, and probably doesn’t even know what’s in it. In way, he is the polar opposite of Blair.
I haven’t been putting this entry off until the last minute, believe me (or ask my fiancée, she’s about ready to tell me to shut up). I have been pondering, and wishing, and lying awake dreaming of this. Thinking of how I can show that I can be a winner. I know that this may seem fool-hearted or just plain cocky, but I want this more. That entry that you read just before this, yeah, I want it more than they do. As much as other people might think they want it, not as much as me! You have my personal money-back guarantee. And that my friend, is as good as gold. Not for bragging rights, but for the glory. That sweet, sweet Blair’s Glory. I have seen it in my dreams, and now I wish to see it in my kitchen.
Thank you very much for you time,