Fire Dragon Chillies Producer to Plate

  1. 1. Can we get a brief description of your business and what you produce?

We produce NZs HOTTEST Chilli sauces and grow the hottest cultivars in the world on our Far North farm. We do 6 sauces ranging from HOT to INSANELY HOT! We also make a Chilli Chocolate with Schoc and have done a couple of chilli beers with Liberty Brewing Co recently. We have a few other projects that are now at a trail stage too. Mainly we grow the hottest chillies we can find and make the hottest sauces that we possibly can!

Great, I had the pleasure of trying some of the Liberty Brewing Co products as well after I met you at Beervana, they are doing some good stuff, perhaps they will make a chilli beer for you!

  1. 2. What motivated you or what was the reason behind you starting this business?


After travelling through Asia and Latin America, I was addicted to the chilli! I searched for a sauce that was HOT enough but could not find any so I started to grow my own chillies and making my own sauces to feed my habit! We started growing in 2007 which was the year that the Bhut Jolokia aka Ghost chilli broke the 1,000,000M scoville barrier, and with it took the heat of chillies to another level. We started growing lots of them at that point, and were the first company in NZ to make a hot sauce from them. Our Deadly sauce was rated the 3rd best HOT sauce in Australasia at the Mr Chilli Awards in late 2012.

Sounds hot! I can feel my eyes watering just looking at this article!

  1. 3. What inspires you to keep doing what you do?


Mainly our chilli head customers out there that just love the fact that they can now get a decent hot sauce that’s grown and produced in NZ. It’s awesome getting all the feedback from satisfied chilli heads out there. Also there will always be new and even hotter chillies which we look forward to trying and growing. Chillies are my passion and I love to grow and eat them so it is easy to be inspired to keep on growing more, and making more sauces and other chilli related products into the future.


Must be exciting to meet fellow chilli heads, I know they would definitely appreciate the effort that goes into your sauces.

  1. 4. In your own kitchen what 5 ingredients can you not do without?


Chilli, Black pepper, NZ Sea Salt, sesame oil, fresh herbs from our garden.

  1. 5. What would be your death row meal?


Something spicy of course but that’s a tough one. I would probably go a spicy Spag Bol or maybe a Pho noodle soup! Lots of chilli in there anyway!


Of course it would be something hot, perhaps the way you would go would be death by chilli as well. I have wanted to go to Vietnam for years and try a pho out there.

  1. 6. If chillies didn’t exist where would you be?


Probably still printing (my trade) or travelling the world possibly. I guess as I also have 3 kids and my lovely partner up north, I would still probably be here with or without the chillies.


It’s a nice place to be!

  1. 7. Is there scope to go even hotter?


You can always get HOTTER - in fact, I think we may see a pod hit 3 million scovilles one day. The hottest measured so far has just broken the 2 million mark and lots are averaging around 1.4 – 1.5M at the moment. It is very controversial which is the actual hottest chilli in the world right now, but we pretty much grow the Top 3 at the moment. So they are getting as hot as pepper spray now!


Woah I don’t think I could take it! I am not great with very spicy foods as I mentioned when you get to the 3 million mark let me know and I will go as far away as possible. Again though it must be so exciting for the chilli heads.

  1. 8. What is the most interesting thing you have seen on your chilli travels?


That would have to be some of the great ruins like Angkor Wot in Cambodia, and Tikal in Guatemala. I ate some very HOT chillies in those two countries too. Great food there as well! As far as nature goes it would have to be Igauzu Falls in South America on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Amazing!

Again those are some of the places I would like to see and a lot of it is because of the foods available as well as the sights.

  1. 9. Do you grow your entire product yourself?


We grow all of our chillies up north and have very good lemon and lime trees here.  We use certified NZ organic cider vinegar and NZ sea salt from Chantal Organics. The rest of the produce we source from local Northland growers like capsicum, tomatoes, carrots and onion and garlic, and our long term vision is to grow most of these things ourselves as well one day – except the capsicum, as here is a risk of cross pollination which can bring down the heat in the chillies. The only product we use that is not from NZ is the organic Soy sauce we use in our Bhuty Black Taniwha. We like to support the local growers and markets in the Far North when possible.


I am a big supporter of that and it is a large part of the reason why we are having this talk today.

  1. 10. How important to you is it to use local produce as opposed to just importing the chillies you want?


Very important. We will only use 100% NZ grown chillies and are not interested in sourcing chillies from overseas. If I grow them, then I know they are spray free and grown with no chemicals or pesticides. We only grow our chillies using organic principles, and stress the plants a bit to make the chillies even HOTTER!


Great to hear.

  1. 11. I read a book recently about eating around the world and one chapter was about a chilli festival in the USA, have you ever been to one, apparently you can buy sauces that you have to sign a waiver for?


No I haven’t been to a chilli festival yet! There are many around the world in the US, UK and OZ, and I have tried to get one going here but haven’t really got it going yet. We just had a Chilli and Hop festival at Hallertau in West Auckland last month, and also had the finals of our NZ Chilli Eating Champs on that night. It was a great success and that is probably the closest we have to a Chilli Festival in NZ at the moment! Keep an eye out for that one as next year it will be a lot BIGGER AND HOTTER! The waivers that they sign in the USA are for extract sauces which are nasty really. Our sauces are 100% natural and have been rated as some of the HOTTEST natural sauces on the planet by a couple of YouTube legends, Ted the Fire Breathing Idiot from the USA and Neil from Hippyseed Company in Oz. Neil was the man who got the Butch T into OZ and broke the world record with the Chilli Factory when the Butch T hit 1,463,000 scovilles which is still the Guinness World record today! Controversial, yes!


I honestly don’t think I would survive a big chilli festival, my mouth is burning just thinking about it!

  1. 12. What are some of the health benefits of chillies?


There are a lot of benefits from eating chillies and more are being discovered all the time. They help with weight loss. Good for diabetics as they do not need as much insulin to digest there meals. Can help with arthritis and sleeping problems. Studies in the US in 2006 found that the capsaicin attacked bowel and prostate cancers. There are more studies going on in the US about chillies fighting cancer right now. They are also good for blood circulation and they release endorphins in your brain which give you a feeling of wellbeing and the reason why they seem to be addictive! They are high in Vitamin A, B and C and have magnesium and potassium plus other trace elements and help to keep those colds at bay.

  1. 13. Finally do you ever find yourself with one of those sweet chilli processed sauces in your pantry?


NO NEVER! Can’t stand them and we don’t use sugar in our sauces as it takes away the heat and flavour of the chillies.


Huge thank you for taking time to answer these questions you have a unique product and certainly deserve your place on the Producer to Plate Board.

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