Meet Your Maker #22 – Geoff Love, Bloody Hot Mate!
The HSB Meet Your Maker Series returns for the 22nd time, this time from the land down under, Australia! Geoff came to the HSB just before he appeared as the featured photo in this article from theage.com.au and we couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard about him before, given his large range of products. Nevertheless, we’re happy to have Geoff stop by the HSB and we’re just as eager to get some of his products up here in North America. Please join me and give Geoff a warm HSB welcome!
HSB Interview Questions:
i) Why Hot sauce? Where did the ideas come from for you to get involved doing this?
I grew up in a very conservative household where most of the food, as we say here in Australia was “meat and two veg (vegetables) and always overcooked.
It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I discovered that there were other spices and condiments other than pepper and salt and the odd sweet fruit based chutney “¦. I was enjoying an Italian meal and on the table with the shaved parmesan cheese was a shaker container of chilli flakes, and that was the turning point!
From that day on it was my pursuit, and after a few years living in Bangkok, Thailand and in the city of Singapore my desire for the red and green bullets of fire was well on the way to becoming a hobby that would take me a way from the advertising world and in to the world of chilli sauce making. On returning to Australia I started making a small range of Asian chilli based products for my own use. Dinner party guests wanted their own to take home, so a larger volume was made, I got picked up by a specialist retailer and that grew to others and a decision was to be made to leave advertising and go fulltime into chilli production. The label developed to sell my concoctions is BHM Bloody Hot Mate!
I was also introduced to the Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Rocoto chillies by some West Indian collegues whilst I was in Toronto, Canada back in the 80’s and it took me quiet a few years to find growers here in Australia and now they are the dominant chillies used in all my sauces, salsas, mustards, pastes etc.
ii) If You had to pick a favourite sauce of yours, which would it be?
Currently my favourite sauce that I make is the Hab’n Lime chilli sauce. This is a hot sauce with the distinct Habanero flavours blended with fresh Tahitian Limes. The taste sensation is initially the sour/sweet lime taste followed by the unique Habanero heat and flavours. Ideal for BBQ’d fish, prawns and chicken pieces and is very comfortable with a bloody mary.
iii) Any new products we should be ready from your line?
At this stage I’m in the process of developing a range of fruit (blackberry, blueberry and raspberry) and chilli based dessert toppings/sauces. Plus a satay sauce using hazelnuts (not peanuts) from a neighbouring farmer.
iv) Where do you see the future of hot sauce 5 years from now? 10? 20?
Here in Australia we have a much smaller population than the U.S. so although the market is growing it is growing at a slower rate than any business would like. However over the next 10 or 20 years I can see it to continue to grow domestically. The market grows as more Australians travel and taste the cuisines of the world. But like a lot of Australian manufacturers we are looking at a faster growth and are looking at export, to the U.S., Canada, European and Asian markets.
v) What is your favourite sauce that you don’t make?
This is easy, a couple of sauces made (at this stage not commercially) by a friend of mine from Louisiana called Mayan Aji Sauce (Rocoto based sauce) and his Louisiana Table Sauce (a cayenne chilli splash on sauce). Both delectable, great flavours with good heat balance. And I’m encouraging him to start selling them at Farmers Markets.
vi) Do you eat the sauce you make?
Of course!! At least twice a day with my cooking, either in, on or with.
I even take a bottle with me to restaurants to liven up the food.
vii) What do you eat hot sauce on?
I start my day (not always) with scrambled eggs (it works well with poached eggs) with a dash of whatever sauce, heat level and flavour I feel I need to start my day with! I use my sauces in marinades, I make a Singapore style sauce with lots of ginger and garlic with the chilli (about a 7/10) that I use in all my stir fry cooking. Any tropical dishes I’m making get a splash of this and that, but I don’t have any hard and fast rules. It’s to my advantage to use my products in my home cooking as it makes them easier to sell to customers to be able to get them to remove the blinkers and get them to think more widely on usage.
viii) What sets you aside from the other hot sauce producers out there today?
I can only answer this from the Australian producers perspective.
My products are based on recipes developed by me from collections of tastes and foods of my travels. From the Caribbean, Southern U.S. North Africa, Canada Europe and South East Asia.
My idea is to develop a range of products that are different to what is already available here on the market with combinations of fruit, vegetables and chillies (Habanero/Jalapeno/Rocoto/Serrano/Cayenne/Jamaican Hot)
I also believe that I have married heat and flavour and taste successfully so I have customers coming back time and time again.
ix) What is my inspiration before I embark on a new concoction?
A quick trip to any seasonal farmer’s market or wholesale market gives me inspiration. I look at what is in season, and in my mind try to marry it with a particular chilli. Also inspiration comes from people talking to at markets about their tastes, how they use their chillies “¦ either fresh or as a condiment etc., and I run away and experiment. Not always with a winner!
x) Outside of creating hot products, what else keeps you occupied or out of trouble?
I don’t know about ‘out of trouble’ “¦ that’s hard to quantify. But other than creating hot products, I grow most of my own chillies, garlic and onions. I have just started growing Tomatillo and ginger. If I get enough Tomatillo then I will be developing a jalapeno salsa verde, but I’ll have to wait and see what happens at the end of our summer.
I am also a keen photographer, illustrator and painter as well as a very keen cook, and on the odd occasion revert back to my youth and go surfing.
xi) Any weird stories or uses for your hot sauce that you would like to share?
Nothing at this stage of my career “¦ other than a lady customer (very attractive) told me she used one of my chilli sauces with her breakfast cereal with the milk “¦ and no I’m not seeing her anymore!
xii) How much sauce do you make in a week?
I share a kitchen space so I have access on two sometimes three days a week and during that time I try a cook two (sometimes three) products during this time. The quantity depends on my requirements, which is usually around the 300 bottles/jars per product.
xiii) How many different recipes do you go through when developing a new sauce?
Again that depends on the complexity of the recipe/end product I’m trying to achieve. If I’m starting my recipe from scratch I probably throw out two attempts, small quantities until I am happy then I will upscale the recipe and balance as I go.
I sometimes take an existing recipe and change around the balance of ingredients for example a paste to a sauce and that usually only happens once.
I also talk to my customers at markets where I do tastings and get their feedback, sometimes taking onboard their comments and adjusting my recipe.
xiv) How did you get started in the industry?
After spending a few years in Singapore, eating at the hawker stalls and open air restaurants most every night I developed a special love affair for a chilli paste that was served with ‘chicken rice’ (Hainan Chicken). This paste was a combination of chilli with garlic and ginger (dominant flavour) which when I returned to Australia I couldn’t find anywhere, other than in Asian restaurants “¦ not even in Asian supermarkets!!!
So I developed my own, which became the cornerstone of my product range, and after 12 years is still my biggest seller.
xv) What is your biggest challenge so far?
Initially it was getting a regular supply of good quality fresh chillies. Now it is getting shops to stock the products because they don’t see them as big sales movers, but that is changing because a lot of the manufacturers are spending time in the marketplace explaining, tasting and just generally pushing the idea of the chilli.
xvi) What is the most common question you get?
Do I like to eat chilli?
xvii) What do I want to know from readers of the HSB?
Do they want to experience great chilli products from Australia?
Particularly the BHM Bloody Hot Mate! Range.
xviii) What’s a typical day for you?
My week starts on Tuesday, as I need the Monday to recover from doing two markets, sometime three over the previous weekend.
Coffee, toast with honey and another coffee. Sometimes I have my scrambled eggs with a chilli sauce, toast and coffee. If it’s a cooking day I fill the vehicle with ingredients and bottles and head off to cook. If it’s a shopping day I head off early to the wholesale markets to collect previously ordered ingredients for cooking the next day.
Label products, fill orders for delivery pickup. Look up chilli sites on the internet, check emails for orders etc. A couple of hours tv and bed. Of course there’s lunch and or dinner during this day.
xix) Worst burn ever?
It was when I first tasted the fresh habanero chilli when I was in Toronto, my mouth filled with saliva I was dizzy I thought I was going to faint, I had to sit down and that’s when I got the after burn, the heat just kept growing and I felt absolutely like I was going to die. Since then if I taste fresh habaneros I take a small nibble only, and so far that is working!
xx) Best burn ever?
See above. Although it was my worst I also rate it as my best heat rush ever!!!
BHM XXXtreme Heat – Habanero Chilli Sauce. Xtreme heat with Xtreme flavour. The combination of the world’s hottest chillies blended with ginger, garlic and lemon juice with a hint of Wasabi makes this sauce the ideal companion for all your cooking, no matter what cuisine you are preparing. 150ml (10 plus .. this my hottest sauce!)
BHM Chilli Jam. This typically Thai flavoured cooking ‘jam’ is hot, sweet and sour all at the same time with the overtone of fresh coriander. Use it as a jam, a base, on your sandwiches, with your cooking and in your cooking. Think laterally and you will get the best out of the flavours contained in this jam. 200g (6/10)
BHM Harissa. This traditional North African hot paste has all the authentic flavours you would find all throughout the region, ie Morocco, Tunisa etc. A perfect companion for all grilled or BBQ’d food, but sits comfortably with an Australian nature cheddar or a wedge of Gippsland Blue cheese at the end of your meal or anytime .. why wait! 200g (7/10)
BHM Smokey Chipotle BBQ Sauce (Hot & Mild). These two smokey flavoured chipotle BBQ sauces have a rich thick tomato and date base and a touch of spice (the hot version has a lot more spice!). Use where you would normally use BBQ sauces, but try them as a marinade over grilled chicken wings or pork back ribs … but especially complimentary
with a medium rare steak or the humble beef sausage. 250ml (Hot 7/10, Mild 4/10)
BHM Hab’n Lime. This explosive hot chilli sauce is an amazing balance of the hottest chilli known to man … the Habanero and the tang of Australian ‘Tahitian’ limes. All natural ingredients, no artificial colouring or preservatives are used in this tongue tingling sensation. Try this sauce on all your BBQ’d and grilled food … it will add that special chilli zing! But be warned this sauce is extremely hot! … It’s Bloody Hot Mate! This sauce is one of our top sellers. 150ml (10/10)
BHM Habanero Wholegrain Mustard. Heat … Heat … Heat !!! Your taste buds are pleasantly stimulated with the calming wholegrain mustard taste after being assaulted by the Habanero chillies. Nothing more need to be said. 200g (7/10)
BHM Habanero “Splash On” Chilli Sauce. The combination of flavours here is deceptively simple. Sugar, Lime juice, ginger, and garlic. Then there’s the fire of the Habanero! This is Australia’s very own splash-on hot sauce. A Bloody Mary will take on a new meaning. A few drops of our sauce and we doubt you’ll be satisfied with anything less. Keep a bottle in the bar and another in the kitchen – you’ll want a few drops in just about anything you cook. It can (and will!) do wonders for a salad dressing too! 150ml (10/10)
BHM Singapore Hot Chilli Sauce. The heady combination of chilli garlic and ginger will give all your stir fry cooking that special Singapore Hawker Stall food market tastes and flavours. As well as stir fying this one goes well with pasta sauces, spices up that casserole or soup. This is a versatile sauce … it’s up to you to use your imagination. 250ml (7/10)
BHM Hot Chilli Garlic & Ginger. Full-on Singapore hawker stall flavours … what a combination! All chilli, all Garlic and all ginger! This is chilli royale. Whenever you want the good chilli with extra flavour … and extra kick … this is it!! 180g (7/10)
BHM Hot Sweet Chilli Sauce. Here is a really versatile sauce. It is superb as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and prawns. Use it on whatever BBQ … pour it over fish for instance. Why not make a delicious combination with sour cream and marinate chicken pieces in it, these can be panfried or wrapped in a foil parcel and baked in a moderate oven … delicious! It’s sweet but not too sweet it’s medium fiery too. You will find many ways to enjoy this sweet chilli sauce, it will become a daily addition to just about every meal. 250ml (6/10)
BHM Thai Green Chilli & Wasabi. This versatile hot green chilli sauce is a combination of the flavours of Thailand with a mild hint of Wasabi (Japanese ‘horseradish’). This sauce can be used in all your cooking from Asian wok dishes to soups, sauces and as a marinade for chicken, prawns or other seafood dishes. Add the special flavours of Thailand with that special Wasabi and chilli zing to all your meals. 250ml (6/10)
BHM Caribbean Hot Habanero Chilli Sauce. A traditional Caribbean style chilli sauce, blending the favourite habanero chillies with carrots and other ingredients to make a pleasingly hot sauce that is all flavour. Use with everything! Brush over wings or ribs during the BBQ, Dip fresh cooked prawns into it … yummm! 150ml (10/10)
BHM JalapÃ©no Green Chilli Sauce. This medium heat green JalapÃ©no sauce is the ideal accompaniment to all your Mexican inspired dishes “¦ but is versatile enough to be added to spice up your chicken and seafood meals. Mix with sour cream and piled onto a baked potato or potato wedges . 150ml (5/10)
BHM Mango Chutney. Use this mildly spiced Mango Chutney to add that special tropical flavour to chicken salads (hot or cold). Add to salad dressings, mix in with your potato salad or serve as a side dish, a palette freshener, when serving curries. 200g (3/10)
510 West Jindivick Road,
Jindivick. Victoria 3818
Tel: (03) 5628 5216
Mob: 0418 9988760
** To order, email Geoff at the address listed above.
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