Basil Simmons: Culinary Discovery
Hot Sauce is a common ingredient in much of today’s cooking. Did you know that an internationally acclaimed hot sauce was invented in Lethbridge, Alberta? It was at the Lethbridge Heritage Day Ethnic Food Fair that Basil Simmons first started selling his sauce, based on the 55 year old recipe of his Guyanese grandmother. Basil, along with his wife Hilda and their daughter, experimented with the original recipe in order to create the perfect blend of ingredients from both Guyana and Alberta.
When Basil and his family immigrated to Canada, they had not planned on becoming hot sauce inventors. Basil wrote on his website, "When my family and I immigrated to Canada, we joked for years about making our own hot sauce as we had difficulty finding one that lived up to the reputation of being hot and flavourful. I had continued making the hot sauce as I had learned from Grandma for our own use, but decided to refine the recipe by adding more ingredients suitable to our own taste. The result of this experiment was an absolutely delicious tasting sauce!"
Ingredients used from Guyana included mangoes and Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers. The Simmons family added Alberta mustard, onion, cucumber and canola oil to complete the taste sensation, which they named the Fire and Brimstone Hot Gourmet Pepper Sauce.
It wasn’t until Basil retired as a Federal Inspector in 1998 that he started to sell the sauce outside Lethbridge. His co-workers suggested he set up a business with his family and start to market the sauce.
By 2001 the hot sauce had received attention from the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. All sales were done through Basil’s website since he did not have a distributor outside of Canada.
Eventually, Basil’s hot sauce won some awards and became very well known. The publicity from the awards caught the attention of the Overwaitea Food Group of Vancouver, the parent company of the Save-On Foods chain, and today, the product can be found throughout Canada through Save-On, Sobey’s, IGA, Sunterra Foods and other specialty shops. With the increased business both in and outside Alberta, the family moved its production from a small commercial kitchen in Lethbridge to the federal food processing centre at Leduc.
The family still sells Fire and Brimstone Hot Gourmet Pepper Sauce through their website: http://www.firenbrimstone.com/
For more information on Fire and Brimstone Hot Gourmet Pepper Sauce please click the following link.
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