August 28, 2002 - "Hot Sauce"

From chef's salad in Chicago to gumbo in Gonzales, for decades millions have looked to this plant near New Iberia for just that right touch of spice.

Bruce Foods is home to the legendary Louisiana Hot Sauce and its more recent cousin Louisiana Gold. Si Brown, President of Bruce Foods, says, "The goal is to come out with a very pleasing taste in the sauce that has a piquant flavor that enhances the flavor of food without overpowering the flavor of the food with heat."

They start with the best peppers that they can get their hands on, as many as possible grown right here in Louisiana. But as the hot sauces have grown more popular, they've had to spread out, initiating pepper growing programs from coast to coast. However, they won't buy a pepper not grown in the USA.

"This is a very important point for our company," says Brown. "We have a 'buy domestic pepper' program."

Some of those peppers do leave our shores by the ounce, quart and gallon to satisfy cooks from Bangkok to Zanzibar who'll try Louisiana hot sauce on just about anything. But even in the home office they have got to draw the line somewhere.

"I've actually tried it on ice cream," says Si Brown, "But I can't say that it helps the flavor of ice cream!"

They make up to 15,000 cases of hot sauce a day at Bruce Foods. That's a lot of peppers, and they are always looking for more local growers willing to supply them.