Meet the Makers: Piko Peppers
More and more people are getting to know the wonderful world of hot sauce, but many people still don’t know much about the makers of those delicious hot sauces. Who are the heroes behind the brands that spoil us with the tastiest hot sauces? Time to find out in our interview series ‘Meet the Makers’.
Microsaucerie Piko Peppers
Until season 19 of Hot Ones we were not familiar with the Piko Peppers brand, but that changed with the announcement of the season 19 line-up. There, host Sean Evans called the Piko Riko hot sauce from the Canadian brand a top 5 hot sauce he has ever tasted. And that’s saying something, because Sean has tasted a lot of hot sauces! Then we knew we had to have this sauce too and when we checked the Piko Peppers website we only became more excited about all the other flavours they make. We now sell a lot of sauces with the recognizable cats on them and in no time the brand grew into a keeper. Time to get to know them better, so owners JP & Val answer our 10 questions.
When & what was your first hot sauce experience?
We have both loved hot sauce and all kinds of spices since a very young age, even though spicy food wasn’t really a thing here before. We actually put hot sauce on every dish we eat.
What made you decide to start your own brand?
Val and I were already huge fans of hot sauce when we met years ago, but what pushed us to start our own brand is the fact that we couldn’t find exactly the hot sauce we were looking for here. Of course there are other good brands in Montreal and the surrounding area, but we wanted to not only have our own products, but also bring all the brands together in one physical place and that is why we took the bold step of opening the Chez Piko store (their own hot sauce store, seen below) in Montreal. The store helps us a lot to get in contact with other sauce makers and we think that’s great.
How did you come up with the name of your brand?
There is no particular meaning in the name of our brand. It came naturally to us. It can mean many different things in different languages, but it is also one of the many names of our cat mascot.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with (other than peppers of course)?
We are very pro-garlic and like to play with different spices and herbs.
What is the ultimate highlight so far?
Of course, there is no doubt that it was the moment our Piko Riko sauce appeared in Hot Ones season 19, combined with the unexpected rave reviews of the sauce by Sean Evans (top 5 sauce he has ever had in his life).
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What is your favorite hot sauce from another brand?
We have a lot of them since we have our own hot sauce shop. We really like the Kanzuri brand, Kaminari hot sauce, a Japanese company. They have a very long and specific fermentation process and we love that. The infamous Dirty Dick’s hot sauce is also an eternal classic. Karma Sauces is a fantastic brand with an impressive range and to round off on the more commercial side, the good old Iguana sauce or Marie Sharp’s are quite good
Do you have a favorite cultural hot sauce reference (in music or TV/film)?
Not a lot of cultural references in TV/film, but we love working with music artists. The first was with the music band Le Matos, a very popular electro band from Montreal and our most recent and biggest, with the one and only Venetian Snares.
What is your favorite music to play while making/eating hot sauce?
So many possible answers here. We are big fans of electronic and experimental music. Aphex Twin, Autechre, Venetian Snares to name a few. Like I said, we have a collab sauce with Venetian Snares, a breakcore/IDM legend and a true hot sauce enthusiast. Really proud of this one! We also listen to Elke Aleksi Perälä, Eprom, the latest Fever Ray album, Kavari, a lot of techno and drum & bass.
Which food + (your own) hot sauce combination should our followers really try?
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We would like to thank JP & Val for taking the time to answer our questions and of course for making great hot sauces. Check out all Piko Peppers hot sauces here. If you want to read more stories behind the hot sauce makers, you can check out all our Meet the Makers interviews here.