Chile Heads Unite: 2015 NYC Hot Sauce Expo Approaches and Boy, Are the MiMis Screaming!

Hot sauce poster

Hot sauce production, once a specialty item for oyster lovers and gastromasochists, has become one of the fastest growing industries, not just food, but of all industries in the United States. Sales of hot sauce skyrocketed by 150 percent over a 10-year period, more than BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard—combined.

The Third Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo celebrates all things related to the mighty pepper and its magical and captivating ingredient, capsaicin. Along with tastings, eating contests, music and other activities, the Expo features more than 45 artisanal hot sauces and their colorful producers, each showing off their own take on this tempting and sometimes demonic elixir. If you love to push your taste buds to the limits of tolerance, or just want to dip your feet into the fiery pool of hot sauce’s pain-meets-pleasure hedonism, you can try sauces ranging from mild and sweet to smoky and slow-burning to “roid-rippin,'” face-melting and straight from the depths of Hell.

NYC Foodscape is honored (and a bit terrified) to be serving on an esteemed panel of celebrity chefs, pepper aficionados and journalists to judge the most coveted awards competition in the hot sauce industry, the “3rd Annual Screaming Mi Mi Awards.” The awards submission deadline ended yesterday and was open to all international hot sauce brands. Tonight, the panel meets behind closed doors during a press preview for the ultimate blind taste-test and endurance marathon of 100+ hot sauce sample . Awards in 13 categories, plus a brand new category, Best Hot Sauce of 2014, will be announced on Saturday, April 25 at the Hot Sauce Expo for three winning contestants — gold, silver and bronze — in the following categories:


Louisiana Style
Fruit Based
Fruit Based Hot
All Natural
XXX Hot Sauce (Non Extract)
Pepper Blend
Best Hot Sauce Label Artwork
Chicken Wing
Spicy BBQ
Spicy Salsa

First place winners in each category get their winning sauces picked up by Peppers, one of the largest hot sauce distributors in the country.

NYC Foodscape will be live-tweeting and will update you with photos and tasting notes after tonight’s tasting in a post tomorrow.

About NYC Hot Sauce Expo

Brooklyn Expo Center
79 Franklin Street, Brooklyn

Tickets: $10/$55/$100;
Saturday, April 25, 2015: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 26, 2015: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Get your tickets here now–they are selling fast.

High River Sauces
Photo Courtesy of High River Sauces

Hot Sauce Expo is co-produced by Steve Seabury and his multi-award-winning NYC-based hot sauce company called High River Sauces, and Food Karma Projects, a creative producer of food and media events throughout the New York area. Created by Jimmy Carbone — a NYC-based restaurateur and dedicated social entrepreneur — Food Karma Projects is dedicated to community building by creating unique events that showcase the best local food, chefs, beer and wine, and create a social impact that benefits worthy non-profit groups.



Note: Tonight’s press event and judges tasting panel was originally scheduled to take place at Jimmy’s renown gastropub, Jimmy’s 43, but last Thursday’s explosion in the East Village came dangerously close to the doors of Jimmy’s restaurant. His building is next door to one of the three buildings that is now rubble. His restaurant, named one of the country’s best gastropubs by Food and Wine Magazine, remains closed while the investigation continues, and he and other nearby businesses suffer until the get the thumbs-up to reopen. You can hear more about Jimmy’s ordeal on today’s Leonard Lopate’s show on WNYC.  In addition to supporting the victims of Thursday’s tragedy by volunteering and donating (DNAInfo as two lists here and here), you can also support Jimmy, one of the New York City’s local food’s most generous supporters, by buying a gift certificate or stop by for a drink as soon as it reopens.

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