Ron Menin, owner and founder of Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauce, has always been a fan of hot sauce and was known by his friends as someone who put it on almost everything he ate. To this day he claims not to be able to eat something unless it has hot sauce on it.
But to Ron, hot sauce is not just about the heat; it’s about finding the perfect balance of heat and flavour. This principle is so important to him that years later it became the corporate slogan of his brand Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauce. His sauces, he will tell you, have done just that.
Ron worked as a Captain in the fine dining industry in New York City for many years and he has an instinctive understanding of pairing foods with flavours. Each night before the night shift began, all the employees of the fine dining restaurant Ron worked at would gather together for a meal known as “family meal” and Ron would bring along his favourite hot sauces to spice things up. He became so closely associated with hot sauces that he was nicknamed “Chilli Boy” by his workmates. Years later, his nickname evolved into Ron “Chilipepper Jesus” Menin.
In 2007-2008 Ron decided to try his hand at producing his own hot sauces, using all the knowledge he had acquired during his years in the restaurant industry to produce unique and unforgettable flavour profiles.
After creating sauces at home in a slow cooker, he would bring his new creations into work with him in quart containers and his workmates would try them and give him the thumbs up or thumbs down. It was through this process that he tweaked and refined his sauces to ensure that they tasted as delicious and full of flavour as possible.
After a great deal of experimentation, Ron established his initial lineup of six sauces. As of July 2020, that lineup now stands at 12 sauces including a BBQ and wing sauce. No doubt there will be more to come.
Ron cooks all of his sauces himself from a rented commercial kitchen in Queens, creating enough to make 60 cases (720 bottles) in each eight hour shift. All of the sauces are slow cooked, which is how the unique flavours of Ron’s sauces are developed and made both richer and deeper. He refuses to water down his sauces or cut corners in any way. As Ron puts it, “I don’t phone anything in. I never have in my life. I was raised blue collar, I try to follow through with stuff. I think my sauce making reflects that.”
The label art on the Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauce bottles are designed in a vintage style reminiscent of both tattoos and Pin-up art, creating a very distinctive look. Ron says that he was inspired to create the labels in this style after dating a buxom Burlesque dancer and pin-up model named Molly, whose likeness appears in different poses on each of the labels.
The label art is created by Brooklyn based commercial artist Dan Birch who has also designed the label art for craft beer companies such as Alewife Brewing Company and ICONYC Brewing Company.
Ron is a big believer in the idea that great hot sauces can enrich and enhance your own at home dining experience. If you’re restricted to a particular diet or are trying to lose weight, small batch, craft hot sauces can transform that plain grilled chicken breast into a hundred different meals simply by using a different sauce. With very little hassle or expense, your flavour options expand significantly.
You can expand your flavour options today by giving some of Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauces amazing and unique sauces a try. Check out their range here and pick up some of the finest hot sauces The Big Apple has to offer.