This holiday season, Ottawa Foodie Girlz is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with a festive Q&A style blog series featuring one local business per day. We’ve spent the last few weeks connecting with local business owners and each day we will we will reveal the business, their story, and a special giveaway. That’s right, we have 12 giveaways coming up!
Make sure to check out our 12 days of Christmas event page every day as we reveal the next business. All giveaways will start the day the blog is featured end 5 days later! All photos have been provided by the business, unless otherwise credited.
On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me.....
Why/how/when did you start your business?
We first started selling hot sauce in 2007 out of Il Piccolino and Il Primo restaurants on Preston St. In the beginning, we had just one hot sauce called Fire Kitty. Since then we have expanded our product line to eight hot sauces and one BBQ sauce.
Tell us about your successes/challenges.
Our successes and challenges go hand in hand, actually. As we expanded our product line and began selling in larger retail stores like Farm Boy and Whole Foods, finding the time to produce the product became a challenge. Craig Pedersen at Il Primo very generously let us use his kitchen for the first six or seven years of the business, but we grew to the point where cooking overnight and on holidays in the restaurant was no longer viable because of the volume of product we needed. We still cook in small batches, but have moved into the kitchen at House of Targ (pinball and perogies!) for a full day every week, which is a great fit for us. The two businesses really support each other and work together on projects when we can.
What is your most popular product?
Our original sauce, Fire Kitty, is still our best seller. It is an all-purpose hot sauce made with apple and jalapeño that you can use right out of the bottle in Caesars, with wings, pizza, eggs, and so on. We did launch three new sauces. Ghost Cat has started out strong and may unseat Fire Kitty as the bestseller soon. It is our hottest yet, made with pears and ghost peppers!
What do you want people to know about you and your products?
We are very proud to source almost all of our fruits and vegetables locally, working with great local growers like Rideau Pines Farm and Happy Radish Farm, both within the city limits of Ottawa! Their produce is what makes our sauces so unique, and we keep everything all natural, no added preservatives or colour.
We also do custom sauces for weddings, fundraisers, restaurants and other businesses, which is a lot of fun!
Where can people find your products?
In addition to Farm Boy and Whole Foods, our products are mostly stocked in smaller, specialty food stores. You can find them at Seed to Sausage General Store, Chilly Chiles, Herb and Spice, Thyme and Again, Mrs. McGarrigle's, The Cuckoo's Nest, Grace in the Kitchen, and at Il Primo and Targ. During market season we sell at the Beechwood Farmer's Market, and we attend lots of food-related events and craft sales all year long. We are also happy to take orders by email, or help people find a store close to them that carries the line.
We are always looking for new retailers to carry our sauces and for shows so we can get out and introduce people to the products. Next April, we are travelling to the New York City Hot Sauce Expo, which should be fun. We would really like to expand our custom work, especially for fundraising initiatives. We probably won't expand the product line much further -- we have our hands full with nine sauces as it is -- but we do have a few "special edition" sauces planned, including for our 10th anniversary in 2017.
And, eventually we would like to build our own production facility with a restaurant and retail component.
Last chance before Christmas
Come to the Heart, Home, Handmade Holiday show on Dec. 12 at the Hellenic Centre at 1315 Prince of Wales Dr. It's the last show before Christmas. Gift packs will be available!
Ottawa, ON. K1R 5S3