Welcome to Chilehead Monthly

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For those that do not know me, I am Al “Buddah” Goldenberg, the owner of ILoveItSpicy.com and the creator of this very Chilehead Monthly newsletter. I wanted to create a newsletter that pulls in some of the very talented individuals that make up the ever-growing Chilehead Community. I have asked some people you will know from Facebook or YouTube, and others you might not know of at first, but you will get to know through their columns they will write to you each and every month. Each Writer we have assembled here has some form of passion that drives them. I have asked each writer to give us a little of that in this month’s column. We wanted introductions and that is what we are giving you. I asked for some spicy recipe ideas and we have a few of those as well. I even got 2 spicy product makers to talk about their experiences in 2 of the big fiery food festivals in July. You can check out our recently updated Spicy Events Schedule HERE.

The California Hot Sauce Expo was the first of the above mentioned festivals, and we are indeed very lucky to have Lucky Dog Hot Sauce creator Scott Zalkind do a guest column for us. He was also at the 2nd NYC Hot Sauce Expo and he draws from that experience between these two Expos from a vendor’s point of view. He also had a spicy eating contest to talk about and it was the very first one ever at the California Hot Sauce Expo. Scott is here to share this history making eating frenzy with you. Then we follow that up with the Louisiana Hot Sauce Expo and another guess writer, Keith Jenkins of Frog-Bone Cajun Sauces. Keith not only discusses this festival with some insight from last year’s rain-fest, but he also mentions how much fun and success he had at the World Hot Sauce Awards. I really appreciated both of these great award winning, spicy product makers taking the time to write for our newsletter. Thanks fellas!

Next up we have 2 ladies that have created names for themselves in this predominantly male, spicy product industry. First, we have representing the State of Pennsylvania, Shellie Mierwald of Sweet Heat Gourmet. She will tell you how it all started and how the road she traveled to get here. Plus, what Shellie plans on bringing to you with her own featured column is surely made with local fresh ingredients just like all of her products. Next we have The Sauce Goddess, Jennifer Reynolds from sunny California. She has an idea for our newsletter that I think has a rather interesting twist on the normal spicy recipe. I think many of you will be able to relate. For both Shellie and Jennifer, I know telling the Chileheads of the world, that a woman can do just as good as any male can with spices and chiles, is a message that we are proud to support.

You can not have a newsletter called “Chilehead” Monthly without bringing in an expert to talk about chiles. My good friend Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles is doing me a big favor and giving me a monthly column that will feature a chile pepper that you might very well love. I told him to choose a favorite of his that Chileheads might not know about and talk it up some. Get ready to get a chileducation with the Sugar Rush Peach or for you Latin loving chile nerds, Capsicum bacattum.

ILoveItSpicy used to have a weekly spicy cooking contest called Feast Your Eyes on This. Our last winner had so much charisma and cooking skill I wanted to see if he could bring his cooking chops and charm to a newsletter. So I had to ask Mike Isenberg from Wicked Cactus Sauces into the fold. I am glad he accepted. Mike is going to explain some step-by-step special techniques in cooking that you can do at home. His first recipe column resolves around the misunderstood fungi, the shroooom! If you love them like I do, then you better copy and paste this recipe into a folder for future use.

I wanted to bring in some well respected Bloggers into this newsletter. I had to bring in my right hand man, Fiber Joe, who I know could share his love of the grill with you all. Out of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Fiber Joe is just a few miles away from the Sandia Resort & Casino, the home of the Fiery Food & BBQ Show, the world’s biggest hot sauce event. He knows a few people in the world of BBQ and hot sauce that he will be drawing from in the months to come. He has been invaluable to me and this website and his BBQ will be invaluable to you.

Next up, right out of the United Kingdom, we have the Jay Webley, the Chilli Alchemist. Jay’s first column honestly is my favorite of this newsletter with no offense to my valuable contributors. I love background stories, and he has a great tale to tell. We all have our own origin story on how we all became Chileheads. Jay has an interesting tale to spin and includes his first hand history lesson on the development of hot sauce in the UK. It is truly inspiring. I can not wait to see what else Jay will deliver to us in his future columns.

I am blessed that Ken Alexander is not a shy guy. He reached out to me at the second Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival back about 4-5 years ago. He wanted to do spicy product reviews for my website. I am glad I gave him my card and welcomed him into the fold. Ken has been an inspiration to many as he has lost a lot of weight since we first met and has kept it off for a few years now. Kudos to you Ken. Anyway, I could not have a newsletter without the creator of www.FieryWorld.com and all he brings in both personality and passion. Ken gives us a plan for the future which might include his experience at next weekend’s Great Chicago Fiery Food Festival for which he will be hosting – with mic in hand – some of the many events planned at the show. I will be at the festival, so we just might have double coverage. Either way, Ken will add so much to our newsletter.

Next we have the Taco lover himself, Heath “The Taco Man” McDowell who will give us a different spin on eating the American favorite and Mexican inspired taco. Soft shell to hard shell. From Vegetarian to Meat-stuffed. So many tacos, so little time. We hope you enjoy some of Heath’s mouth-watering recipes and you will be inspired to create one or ten yourself. Check out the Tacos Everyday Blog where he contributes too.

Last, but not least, I bring to my Chilehead faithful, the YouTube sensation, the one and only, the Chile Beast, Jason Reilly. We will see if the Chile Beast can hold his own in the written word. We added him last minute to this newsletter, so while his column is small, we know big things are coming from him. Many of you all ready know of his extreme challenges, but what he has plans for his column will show a whole other side to his personality. I can not wait for next month to come! His YouTube Page can be found HERE and his Facebook page can be found OVER HERE.

That is it for our 11 contributors, plus myself. I hope you enjoy getting to know our staff of fiery columnists and share our newsletter with others of our ilk. We are a growing society and it is time to change the world with a little endorphin rush for one and for all. When you come to ILoveItSpicy, you will see at the top of the page, “The Gateway to the land of Chilehead dreams…Let us show you the way!”. This is not just a saying, it is a belief that we can educate you on the next best spicy food or condiment to spruce up your meal. We wholeheartedly believe that if you let us take your hand and guide you into the ways of spicy love that we know so well, you will be a better person for it. We do not push you off any diving boards and let you swim on your own. This is a long journey and it does not have to start with the hottest thing on the planet. Our good friends at CaJohn’s Fiery Foods say it best, “Flavor over Fire”. Take baby steps and adjust as your tolerance adjusts. Remember, everyone has a different level of what they can handle. You do not want to scare off the people you love with overly spicy food. They will be scarred and scared of spicy food for life. I have friends and family members that are truly scared to death of the word “spicy”.

Here is a tip to making those people who are scared, rethink why they are gripped with fear for trying anything remotely spicy. Find a great dish and add a little heat to it. If it is a truly great, addicting dish, they will complain, but have to comeback for more. It is a start, and pardon the pun, but you are planting a seed for tomorrow.  I have used the technique at many a party and get together.  I make sure I get to the party early and stand on the other side of the room away from my dish.  I will see people waving their hands like they trying to create enough wind to cool their mouths off.  It really isn’t that hot at all.  I wouldn’t ruin the dish for my party goer friends.  Yet there are people that whine at the littlest of burns.  My Sister is like that.  Picky beyond belief.  So these people at the party will realize a little later that despite the pain my dish created, the food was actually good.  The flavor is in their mouth and part of them wants more.  A chilehead in the making, they just need more nurturing.


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Before I close out my first column of the first issue, I want to talk about the big upcoming festival in Chicago called The Great Chicago Fiery Foods Festival.  There are over 40 Vendors and some very special challenges/contests for the fiery food lover in you.  I am personally traveling all the way from Virginia to attend this very special event.  I have made this my vacation for the year and I can not explain enough how much I am looking forward to attending and seeing some of my spicy product making friends and fellow Chileheads.  If you see me, please come say hello.  I only bite if I am not fed.  Chilehead Monthly will be covering this event and hope our September issue will be filled with some very good stories and photos.  If you are near Chicago, please make it a point to take this weekend and make it a part of your life.

Show Days              Show Hours

August 8                 10 am – 6 pm
August 9                 10 am – 5 pm

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