Why Do I Eat Superhots When I Don’t Enjoy Them?

8 February 2023 - Written By

Here I am at the recording studios in Milan just after hair and make-up – 1st February 2023.

Last week, I was in Milan, Italy, to record for a TV Show. After costume-fitting, hair and make-up, we had a short rehearsal session where the writers and producers asked us a few questions. One of the questions they asked me was why I liked eating such supreme-heat chillies. They appeared to be quite shocked when I told them I simply do not like eating them unless I am competing or at a challenge event. Don’t get me wrong; I do have a deep penchant for hot and spicy food and will always carry a hot sauce in my handbag everywhere I go, of which I’ll have a few drops with my food. And I love medium-heat chillies such as Thai Bird’s Eye and Indian Bullets and eat those often but I will never have a fresh/raw superhot chilli just to enjoy.

People can’t believe it when I tell them that though I have a lot of respect for hot peppers, I don’t eat superhots outside of a competition or challenge environment – I detest them and I don’t like the flavour or the heat because they remind me of the pain and panic that I experience at each competition and which get more and more intense as I near the 100 contest wins.

The reasons why I fell in love with the chilli community and why it matters to me is the sense of belonging to a family, the friendships you make, the admiration for: the passion chilli growers have to create the most incredible and beautiful looking peppers, the zeal hot sauce producers have to make the best tasting and most inventive sauces, the diligence with which hot sauce reviewers put their content out to help inform the masses, the enthusiasm in creating innovative hot challenges, the camaraderie between competitors, the love and encouragement in pulling together whether it is to support someone doing one easy challenge or multiple hard-core challenges or to raise monies to help people.

For most people, it pulls the focus away from negative and sad moments. It has the ability to bring people out of their shells and comfort zones and help build their confidence. Not to mention the incredibly smart people I have met – who show endless dedication to their field be it pepper growing, hot sauce making, festival organising, competing, cooking, hot sauce selling, hot sauce reviewing, running chilli-related Facebook groups – people I would have never met in my life otherwise.

Seeing beautiful places and meeting wonderful people within the UK and outside of it, the experiences my chilli-eating has permitted me I may have never had. There’s good and bad in every community but the good is in abundance in ours.

My chilli-eating journey has made me grow as a person and taught me a lot such as the importance of perseverance, patience, pushing yourself to your limits and beyond, and conquering your fears.

Chilli generates tremendous interest, intrigue, and inspiration! I love that my journey has motivated so many other people to take part in contests and encouraged them to be involved in the chilli community in many different ways.

So when people ask me why I eat superhot chillies when I don’t like them, it really is not an easy question to answer in one sentence. I just have this heart full of devotion to shine the light on all the aspects of our diverse community.

Here’s to good friendships, good memories, and good learning.