The Great Chicago Fiery Food Fest

Official hot sauce

At the beginning of the year my workplace has all the employees select their vacation based on seniority. My first choice has been Mother’s Day the last few years, because…well, you only have one Mom, right? I did not really have a plan for a 2nd vacation choice, and the guy with the most seniority used 3 weeks in May and my 1st choice was suddenly gone. All of July was also complete, but I saw the week of my birthday was available in August, and I can’t remember the last time I had vacation time around my birthday. What made this decision even easier was that this Chicago event was happening the following weekend. So I decided to start my vacation with my birthday and take the next 2 weeks off, which would put the Great Chicago Fiery Food Fest smack dab in the middle. If you have not guessed yet, yes I am single. ūüėÄ Well, here I am typing this out, doing laundry loads and getting ready to drive 675 miles to Chicago for the show this weekend. Jeremy Walsh of Bigfats’ Hot Sauce told me a couple of years ago he wanted to bring the greatness of a spicy event to the Windy City. Now he is doing just that and with his co-promoter Marc Levine, (like me a former Long Islander), they are crafting quite an exciting festival.¬†¬† They will also have a VIP area, and the official festival hot sauce bottle pictured above will go to all who purchase a VIP ticket.

I have all the details below including the schedule of events as well as 44 vendors presently signed up to do the event.¬† This is the very 1st Chicago fiery event to ever take place, so I can’t say it enough, if you want the show to succeed, then you have to do your part in supporting it.¬† If you can not attend, then share it with others that might be able to.¬† Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States, but even with a huge population, this does not guarantee success.¬† So please please show the support to those people spending the money to vend at the show and all the people that put forth the effort to make this show happen.¬† I look forward to being there, and if you see me, please come say hello.

Show Schedule

Show Days              Show Hours

August 8 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 10 am ‚Äď 6 pm
August 9 ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 10 am ‚Äď 5 pm

Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium
1340 W Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

This venue is inside the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 UA Building

Click here for all ticket info

Tickets will be available on our website: and also at the door the days of the show.


Vip Hall Band Schedule

Access to the VIP Hall is reserved for VIP Pass Holders Only!

11:30 am Shannon Rovers
1:30 pm Gub Club
3:30 pm Dennis Leise

12:30 pm James Conway and John Hasbrouck
2:30 pm James Conway and John Hasbrouck

Schedule of Events

Bigfat's Hot Sauce and Heaven on Seven Present: Hellzapoppin' Hot Popper ContestBigfat’s Hot Sauce & Heaven on Seven Present:

Hellzapoppin’ Hot Popper Contest

Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 11 am

8-10 contestants.
Each contestant will be given a plate of delicious hot poppers to munch on, supplied by Heaven on Seven and slightly doctored by Bigfat’s Hot Sauce for some extra kick. The first 2 will be jalapeno, the next 2 habanero, the 3rd a ghost pepper, the 4th a Trinidad 7 Pot pepper variety, the 5th, a Trinidad Scorpion pepper variety. For those that make it that far we finish with the mighty wrath of the Carolina Reaper. The first person to finish all peppers and hold off on drinking milk for 2 minutes wins. If no one finishes, the one who eats the most without drinking milk for 2 minutes wins.

Prizes announced at show.

The Stung Tongue Pepper Co. Stinger Pop ChallengeStung Tongue Pepper Co. Presents: The Stinger Pop Challenge

Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 1 pm

25 – 30 contestants.
All contestants will be given 1 Stinger Pop, the hottest lollipop on the planet, supplied by Stung Tongue Pepper Co. You’re going to need some endurance because this contest is more of a marathon than a sprint. Challenge yourself, challenge your friends. Each contestant will be required to keep the Stinger Pop in their mouth for a full 20 minutes to be crowned king of the mountain. If nobody can make it the full 20 minutes, the one that lasts the longest is the Stinger Pop Champ. All the rest can sit in the sandbox of shame.

Prizes announced at show.

Ricobene's Presents The King Steak Sammich from HellRicobene’s and Hellfire Hot Sauces Present:

The King Steak Sammich from Hell

Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 3 pm

10 contestants.
Contestants will have 5 minutes to finish 3 king size Ricobene’s famous breaded steak sandwiches packed with ridiculous deliciousness which will then be doused in the pepper mastery of one of Hellfire Hot Sauces finest concoctions to create something that borders on the divine yet burns like the devil. First to finish wins. If no one finishes at the 5 minute mark the one who eats the most wins.

Prizes announced at show.

The Hard Rock Café and PuckerButt Pepper Company present The Rockin' Reaper Wing ChallengeThe Hard Rock Café and PuckerButt Pepper Company Present:

The Rockin’ Reaper Wing Challenge

Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 5 pm

8-10 contestants.
Each brave contestant will be served a plate of 12 delicious, succulent chicken wings cooked to perfection, generously supplied by The Hard Rock Caf√©. The wings are then bathed in the scorching glory of¬†PuckerButt Pepper Company’s very own Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper pepper, which holds the official Guinness record for hottest chile in the world. First to finish and abstain from drinking milk for 2 minutes to keep the reaper at bay will be the winner.

Prizes announced at show.

Naansense Presents: The Face-Melting Rice Bowl ChallengeNaansense Presents:

The Face-Melting Rice Bowl Challenge

Date: Sunday, August 9
Time: 12 noon

We dare you! No, we double dog dare you to finish our face-melting rice bowl! Just know there is no turning back… Each contestant will get a bowl made of a lb of our basmati rice, 8 oz of our Ghost Chili Chicken, our Vindaloo Reaper Sauce, which has the Carolina Reaper, Scorpion and the infamous Bhut Jolokia peppers. We’ll also be adding a Scorpion Pepper Salad on top AND if you don’t think that is enough, we’ll be drizzling our Fire Red Sauce all over it! First one to finish wins. Also, just a warning, survivors who have finished this animal, like to refer to it as “The Colon Cleanser.”

Laugh all you want, this bowl is no nonsense – it’s the real deal.

Prizes announced at show.

Hofherr Meat Co. and CaJohn's Fiery Foods Present The Maxwell Street Polish MeltdownHofherr Meat Co. and CaJohn’s Fiery Foods Presents:

The Maxwell Street Polish Meltdown

Date: Sunday, August 9
Time: 2 pm

8-10 contestants.
Each contestant will be given 2 EXTRA spicy, EXTRA mouth-watering, jumbo size Maxwell Street style polish sausages on a bun with all the fixings, specially made and hand crafted for this event by Sean Hofherr of Hofherr Meat Co. They will then be smothered to perfection with a fiery ghost pepper mustard made by the Godfather himself, CaJohn of CaJohn’s Fiery Foods. The end result may be a nuclear meltdown of epically delicious proportions!! First one to finish wins! If no one finishes, the one who eats the most wins.

Prizes announced at show.

Exchequer Restaurant and Pub and Volcanic Peppers present - The Spicy Deep Dish of Destruction ContestExchequer Restaurant and Pub and Volcanic Peppers Present:

The Spicy Deep Dish of Destruction Contest

Date: Sunday, August 9
Time: 4 pm

8-10 contestants.
We hope you’re hungry.¬† Each contestant will get their very own delectable deep dish cheese pizza graciously supplied by Exchequer Restaurant and Pub which will be spiced into a raging inferno by the magical pepper powder saucery of Volcanic Peppers. Whoever can stand the heat and stay in the kitchen and is also the first to finish wins. If no one finishes the one who eats the most will be the winner.

Prizes announced at show.

Contest Host/Emcee: Ken Alexander

Ken AlexanderKen Alexander, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who runs the fiery food blog, It’s a Fiery World, is your emcee for the 2015 Great Chicago Fiery Food Fest. He is a self-proclaimed Chilehead and lover of all things hot and spicy! Growing up with a “foodie” mother who loved spice and flavor, his spicy journey started heating up in the mid 1990s while living in New Iberia, Louisiana – the epicenter of Tabasco, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and Cajun cuisine. He bought Jennifer Trainer Thompson’s first edition hot sauce¬†poster as a conversation piece, and started¬†a mission of sampling sauces showcased on the poster. It was then that his taste buds started up the ladder of heat and flavor, rung by spicy rung.¬†

Ken was an Emcee for the New York City Hot Sauce Expo in 2014 and the North Market Fiery Foods Show in Columbus, Ohio, in 2013. He is a trained Memphis in May BBQ judge, and served as a head judge at the Louisiana International Hot Sauce Contest in 2014, and was the head judge for the salsa contest at the 2014 Houston Hot Sauce Show. He’s judged fiery food contests in multiple venues nationally, and has reviewed hundreds of hot sauces and fiery foods for the website I Love it Spicy and his own blog, It’s a Fiery World, including reviews for Tabasco, Southern Foods, and the BIC Corporation. He has a regular segment, “Ken’s Fiery World”, on Scott Roberts‘ premier spicy food podcast, The Firecast, and has provided hot sauce show coverage for shows across the country on YouTube.

While definitely able to handle the heat, Ken more enjoys the flavor of a sauce or pepper. But most importantly, he loves to promote the fiery foods industry and the family of sauce makers, pepper growers, and enthusiasts that create our collective fiery world.




AmberFyre Foods
Angery Goat Pepper Company
Bigfat's Hot Sauce
Black Angel Saucery
Blaze Gourmet
Born to Hula
CaJohn's Fiery Foods
Chesterville Pepper Company
Chicks and Salsa
Chocolate Twist Handcrafted Small Batch Confections
Cobra Corn
Culley's Hot Sauce
Dia De Los Tamales
Dollipop Candy
Elijah's Xtreme
Fight 2 Feed
Frog Bone
Grown Up Kid's Stuff
Hellfire Hot Sauce
Hellraising Hot Sauce
Hoboken Eddie's
Jimmy Luv's
Little Diablo Salsa
Mikey V's Salsa
Mild to Wild Pepper and Herb Company
Papa Turts
Pepper Palace
Premier Sauces
Puckerbutt Pepper Co.
Rasta Bros.
Scotty O'Hotty Hot Sauces
Semper Fidelis Foundation
Smither Family Kitchen
Southern Belle's Gourmet BBQ
Stu's Kitchen
Stung Tongue
Sweet Heat Gourmet
Tonguespank Spice Company
Two Fat Guys BBQ Sauce
Volcanic Peppers
Voodoo Chile Sauces
Windy City Condiments

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