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When it comes to hot sauces, we know there are a lot out there but sometimes you just can't tell one apart from the other. After a bit of reading and a look at a few labels, you take one home still a little unaware of what you're about to unleash. Will it be too hot? Will it be too mild? We've taken the guess work out of hot sauce for you by having a chat to Richard Nelson, the maker and passionate chilli guy behind Melbourne Hot Sauce.

"The Chipotle BBQ was the first sauce i came up with and was created especially for basting pork or beef ribs on the barbecue or smoker"

Before we cut to the chase, a little back story on Melbourne Hot Sauce. This small batch set of sauces is made locally in St Kilda, a stone's throw away from the Leaf Store. Selling point one. It only includes natural and whole ingredients. Selling point number two. Most importantly, you'll have trouble keeping these sauces stocked in your house because the taste is phenomenal. Selling point number three. The list goes on as to why these sauces are stocked on our shelves. We've tried them all. We won't be going back. And we think you should give them a go too. 

Who is the man behind Melbourne Hot Sauce and where did the idea come from?

I have been a chef for 16 years running kitchens in Australia & NZ mainly specialising in Mexican, cajun, creole, caribbean & latin cuisine. About 6 years ago this led me into making my own hot sauce at various restaurants and eventually in 2013 forming Melbourne Hot Sauce.

When it comes to hot sauce, what sets a good one apart from the rest?

Anyone can make something hot, the key is to have depth, balance & flavour, merging the key characteristics of sweet, savoury, acidity, bitterness, salt and Heat. Using all natural ingredients & methods without the use of stabilizers, modifiers, regulators or any other unnatural ingredients is crucial. We also source as much local ingredients as possible & maintain  good relationships with growers & suppliers.

What has been your hottest chilli experience to date?

We do a limited release "Melbourne Hell Sauce" a few times a year which includes some of the hottest chilli in the world, Carolia Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion & Bhut Jolokia. It usually sells out within days of release. These 3 chilli can range from 1million shu to 2million shu on the Scoville scale. In comparison the humble Jalapeno rates about 3-6 thousand shu.

What are your 3 favourite ways to use the range of Melbourne Hot Sauces?

The" Habanero Roja" makes a great addition to certain cocktails Bloody Mary/Maria

The 'Tomatillo & Jalapeno" gives some zing to Avocado & Lime Sorbet

The Chipotle BBQ was the first sauce i came up with and was created especially for basting pork or beef ribs on the barbecue or smoker.

Feel like trying before you buy?

Richard's sauces are served up in a number of Melbourne's stop restaurants, bars and cafes including Touche Hombre in Melbourne CBD and even locally at Bay City Burrito in St Kilda. For a full list of places, click here and get tasting.