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Red Cap Peppa Sauce something to get fired up about

Passion project allows sauce maker to share his father's legacy

As a child, Sanathan Kassiedass used to scoop hot sauce out of a dish on his family’s kitchen counter.

Now he’s bottled that family recipe for others to enjoy, creating Red Cap Peppa Sauce to honour his father, who died in 2020.

Kassiedass, 42, wanted to create a hot sauce that would be hot, but not “burn your pants off hot.” More of a sauce for the “Goldilocks” folks ― something with a bit of spice, but not too much.

Red Cap Peppa Sauce has managed to do both: thicker consistency, full of flavour and with a kick. It's a traditional Trinidadian pepper sauce that Kassiedass describes as not overpowering.

So why Red Cap? Indeed the bottle top is red, but the name honours his dad, who was known by everyone as the man who wore a red cap ― it was his signature.

“Throughout our entire lives, everyone who knew dad could instantly recognize him by a red cap that he wore in public,” he said. “When his parents passed away, he shaved his head as part of a traditional Hindu ritual, and grabbed a red cap to shield his head from the hot Trinidad sun...then he never took it off.”

“The recipe we use for our Peppa Sauce is one that dad shared with mom,” said the married Burlington father, who also has two sisters and a brother. “We have chosen a traditional hot sauce bottle with a red cap in a nod to our father’s legacy.”

The authentic Trinidad Scotch bonnet pepper sauce uses a range of ingredients: red bell pepper, cilantro, culantro, celery, lemon and lime juice and salt. It’s intended to enhance the flavour of your food without overpowering it.

The main pepper is Scotch bonnet, which got its name from its resemblance to a tam o'shanter hat –― the same style of red hat that his dad wore.

Red Cap Hot Sauce Co. has only one hot sauce, which is somewhat unusual ― most hot sauce producers have a host of different flavours or spice levels. Kassiedass wanted to create just one.

“I tried to take a page out of the Steam Whistle (brewery) book, ‘Do one thing, really, really well,’” he explained.

He tested his sauce at local events in his own neighbourhood, at the Orchard Community Picnic and the Appleby Line Street Festival. Last year, he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that resulted in holiday orders, and then on January 23 ― his dad’s birthday ― he launched the online store. The sauce is also available at some area retailers: Dawson’s Hot Shop Sauce, 435 Barton St. E., Hamilton and Old Galt Bottle Shop in Cambridge.

Kassiedass said Red Cap will be at upcoming events such as Planted Expo Toronto, April 29-30 at the Enercare Centre and the Milton Strawberry Festival, June 17-18.

“This is my passion project,” explained Kassiedass, whose background is in urban planning and the tech industry. And he’s not alone in his hot sauce hobby.
There are several hot sauce makers local to Burlington and the surrounding area who all produce out of the same commercial kitchen in Oakville, In Good Company Kitchen on Pacific Road. Each sauce maker has their own origin story. They include Royal Pepper, Tijuana Tom's, Heat from the Hammer, and Mojo.

Kassiedass said it’s an interesting camaraderie the hot sauce makers share. Not in direct competition with each other, they instead offer tips and tricks to help each other.

He typically produces his hot sauce on weekends, spending anywhere from four to eight hours at a time, cutting, chopping and cooking to produce some 200 or more five-ounce (148 ml) bottles.

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Julie Slack

About the Author: Julie Slack

Julie Slack is a Halton resident who has been working as a community journalist for more than 25 years
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