With a growing retail footprint and plans for a new manufacturing outpost on Fair Street, things at Burn Hot Sauce are definitely heating up.
Since opening in 2015, the Santa Cruz company has spread the gospel of organic, small-batch, lacto-fermented hot sauce to more than 50 stores across the country.
Owners Amanda and Chase Heyse, who are married in addition to being business partners, are known for distinctive flavors from fiery Golden Cayenne to fruit-forward Cyklon. The sauces are all probiotic, single-origin and sugar-free—basically guaranteed to make you cry tears of spice-induced happiness.
What is lacto-fermentation?
AMANDA HEYSE: Lacto-fermentation is when you preserve fruits or vegetables in a saltwater solution. What’s happening is you’re creating a good environment for the wild yeasts to produce probiotic bacteria … You get an acidity, a complexity, that is amazing.
Do you have a favorite pepper?
CHASE HEYSE: It’s kind of like choosing your favorite song. It depends on where you are and why. If I was on a beach in Mexico, I’d love to listen to Bob Marley and eat some tacos with some serrano or habanero-bell. But if I’m on a mountain in Colorado in January and just got done snowboarding, I think I’m gonna have something more complex and relaxed. I think a Bulgarian carrot pepper or even our Thai Bird-Jalapeño.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve put Burn Hot Sauce on?
CHASE: You know when you bite into a strawberry it has that perfect little hollow cup in it? Filling that little void with habanero bell or Cyklon, which is a mild sauce we make, it’s surprisingly really good.
What are you looking forward to with this new Westside space?
AMANDA: We’re really grateful for all of the kitchens we’ve worked in, but finally being able to build the kitchen of our dreams to do what we need to do is super exciting. It means that we can do more things like cooking classes, pop-up dinners and even more farmers’ market food pop-ups.
Find Burn on Saturdays at the Westside Farmers’ Market or Sundays at the Live Oak Farmers’ Market. burnhotsauce.com.