Meet your Maker #6 – Innuendo Foods
I had to quickly get some information about Innuendo Foods. Particularily the Baboon Ass brand which seems to be a pretty famous sauce out West. I was fortunate to get in touch with Ron the President of Innuendo Foods and get his thoughts on his hot sauce and the scene in general. Now I am off to run and get some Baboon Ass (that just sounds so wrong).
1) The most obvious questions is why hot sauce where did the idea come from for you to get involved doing this?
Here is an interesting fact; I used to really dislike spicy food. I mean any and all spicy food. I did not even like Buffalo wings because they made my lips burn and I found that type of pain intolerable. One day I had an irresistible craving for hot wings. I have no idea why but I knew I had to have some. Turns out they were kinda spicy. Instead of the usual uncomfortable regret, I embraced the fiery pain bestowed on my lips by those saucy little drumettes. Seems I could not get enough. Not having experience with hot anything I asked the server for some hot sauce. He brought me Tabasco.
I apologize for saying the”T” word. I proceeded to ruin the remaining wings with the vinegary twang of T-sauce. After going on a spree looking for the ultimate hot sauce flavor experience, also known as staring my hot sauce collection, I decided there was not one sauce on the market with all the characteristics I was looking for, hence the creation of “Baboon Ass Brand Habanero Hot Sauce”. I entered it in the amateur hot sauce competition at hot shop in the San Diego area and brought home 2nd place. The shop, having 3 locations offered to buy the product if I was interested in going pro with it. I was and I did.
2)If you had to pick a favorite sauce of yours which would it be?
Right now my favorite is definitely “Bucky Goldstien’s Hot Sauce”. Having just won a first place at Zestfest it is my Golden Child.
Bucky Goldstien’s Hot Sauce is an awesome all around eating sauce. It has a rich sweetness with smoky tones. The blend of chiles includes three kinds of Habaneros in various forms, and ripe red jalapeños. Our proprietary blend of spices makes Bucky Goldstien’s Hot Sauce taste great on any thing you eat. Some of my favorite things to do with Bucky Goldstien’s Hot Sauce is mix it in with apricot jam and pour it over baked cream cheese, whisk it with butter for the best wing sauce you ever had, and slather it all over an Ultimate cheeseburger from JBX. As you all know there are a million uses for hot sauce!
3) Any new products we should be ready for from your line?
We have a ton of new product in line for release. Under the Bucky Goldstien’s Line look for; Hot Wing Sauce in 4 Flavors, Brisket & Meat Marinade, BBQ Sauce in 3 flavors, and a Cool Ranch Wing Dip. Under the Baboon Ass Brand We have a Chipotle hot sauce, a Green Jalapeno hot sauce, and a secret product I can’t say anything about yet. We also have some items coming out under our brand of Italian products; “Two Goombaz”, those are not spicy so I leave it at that.
4) What is your favorite sauce that you don’t make?
I tend to be a little fickle when it comes to hot sauce, my taste changes around quite a bit. I gotta give props to Danny Cash for his “Bottled Up Anger”, it is definitely on my top 10 list. I really like the fresh green flavor. I pretty much kill half a bottle at a time of that stuff. I also really like “Around The World” hot sauce from Monty’s Gourmet Foods, it’s the kinda sauce you just want to splash on everything. I especially like it in soup.
5) Do you eat the sauce you make?
Of course I do! First of all, I LOVE my sauces! Secondly, I eat a ton of hot sauce. I would go broke if I had to buy all that sauce at full retail. It is a rare meal that misses a generous dose of the zesty nectar. The only exceptions have been a Kobe Filet Mignon dinner; because I was in a juicy, tender, beef induced trance, and a Moroccan Dinner; because there were no utensils, which confused me. It seemed like sauce would not be conducive to finger food. However, now that I think of it, that Chicken Tagine could have really used a good dose of Bucky Goldstien’s!
6) What’s a typical day like for you?
Oooof! Where do I start? Innuendo Enterprises LLC is a very dynamic business. Aside from making our core line of products we also represent several specialty food manufacturers and distribute their products. We operate as a co-packer and manufacture sauces for other companies. We operate a private label business and provide several national chains with sauces. We even do the occasional trade show or festival for Dave’s Gourmet.
I wouldn’t say I have a typical day. But if I had to describe one, and I’m sure I would be leaving out a bunch of stuff, it would probably go something like this:
5:30am get up, check email, and make coffee. 6:00am – 7:30am get ready, get kids ready for school. 8:15am In line at Starbucks; must have caffeine! 9:00am In office. This is where it gets dicey. Until 6:00pm I could be doing just about anything. The days are rarely the same. One day I am on the road pitching a new product. Making deliveries the next day or going to the plant to run a batch of sauce. I might be creating the next great product in the morning and working with my artist to make sure the labels are right that afternoon. I could be bitching at my printer because they messed up the plates and thought they were good enough anyways. I could be driving or flying somewhere to sell or demo a line or attend a tradeshow or festival. I am most likely at some point reading the threads on my Specialty Food Makers YahooGroup and offering my twisted perspective on whatever debacle had just ruined a newbie’s life, or maybe I’m the one getting advice from some newer members that are not yet as jaded as I have become.
I could go on forever but I think you all get the point. Just know at the end of the day I go to bed feeling like there is nothing I would rather have done with my day. I get to bring you all the greatest hot sauces and gourmet foods available.
7) What sets you aside from the other hot sauce producers out there today?
Well, I’m pretty sure we are the only hot sauce maker that still brews up our special formulas in an old bathtub, and we still mix it up with a weed whacker. Oh, and we only use the freshest, cruelty free, grass fed, free range baboons in our “Baboon Ass Brand Hot Sauces”. No hormone injected freak baboon with 4 asses would ever be allowed in our sauce. We are currently sourcing chimpanzees for our Chimp-otle sauce. We are not having much luck and rather than risk getting some contaminated chimps from overseas I think we will just farm them here like we do the baboons.
Sorry, back to reality… I think what sets us aside is our passion and commitment to our lines. We are not just in it for the money, and if you are in this business you already know, there is no money. So you have to do it for the customers and yourself. If we stopped making the greatest hot sauce in the world, everyone would have to go back to eating spicy vinegar. I just can’t let that happen in my lifetime. I’ve even made it clear to my kids; no matter what happens, the sauce must go on!
8) What is your inspiration before you embark on a new concoction?
The inspiration for “Baboon Ass Brand Habanero Hot Sauce” was very selfish. I wanted a better hot sauce, not sweet, not salty, not vinegary, and not what was currently available, if it was out there already, I couldn’t find it. FLAVOR- I was looking for flavor, and I don’t mean the guy in the Viking hat with the huge clock around his neck! It just so happened I shared some of my sauce and I realized others wanted flavor too.
My own selfish needs are no longer my inspiration. I am inspired to create wonderful complex flavored sauces for everyone to enjoy. The next product is always just a burning taste bud away. Every experience seems to trigger another product. I have a little note pad and I always have it with me. I take it out and write down product ideas as they hit me. Sometimes it’s the weirdest thing that triggers an idea for a new product. When I revisit my list there are usually 2 kinds of reactions to what I had written. What the hell was I thinking? Or I gotta get that made NOW!
9) Outside of creating hot products what else keeps you occupied or inspired to make new products?
I love to cook. Some times just cooking dinner will inspire a new product. While I really love spicy food, some of my newer products will not be hot. Of course you can always add hot sauce to any products that are not hot, and I always do. The really important thing to me is to make sure a product is special. There are already products in stores that anyone can buy. Make yours special and people will want it. I like to incorporate layers of flavors and textures in my products. Innuendo’s goal is to make a line of products that people taste and say “Wow, that’s a really great_________!” You fill in the blank. If I am making something ordinary, then I have failed to express what I was feeling about that product. The best thing that could happen is when I surprise myself. Some products just turn out better than your expectations, and that is a real treat, for both me and the future consumers.
My family is a major inspiration for my business. They are very supportive and all get involved in the projects. My oldest son likes to critique the art for the labels. My youngest son gets to test the hot sauce when he uses the latest words he learned on the playground at school, and my girlfriend is developing her chile-head taste buds.
10) Any weird stories or uses for your hot sauce that you would like to share?
I do actually have a funny story. I was at a function, family and friends mostly. A group of us was outside manning the grill and smoker. Well, I felt it was time to pull the customary piece of “test meat” out of the smoker. Today’s test meat was pork shoulder, which I must say was quite tender and delicious. But who can tell without a little splash of Baboon Ass Brand Hot Sauce on it. So I pull out a bottle of hot sauce and proceed to tear off the neck band. The sound of that plastic neck band tearing caught the attention of one of the kids outside who proceeded to scream and run indoors. Laughing, I mentioned to my friend that his son seemed to have an odd aversion to tamper evident neck bands!
At this point my friend informs me the object of his son’s terror is actually my hot sauce or “sassy sauce” as they have come to know it. Apparently the sassy sauce is used to punish the child when inappropriate language or behavior is exhibited. Who ever though something so good could be used for such evil! I always thought their kids were so well behaved. That would never work with my kids, they would just ask me to scramble some eggs to go with the sauce.