From working at Fed-Ex Kinkos, to creating some of the fieriest sauces you'll ever try, John Kessler has come a long way in his journey of hot sauce experimentation.
Kessler's Infinity Sauces brand was kind of born by accident as in the summer of 2012 he planted a few habaneros, expecting modest little plants to come out of it. What actually grew were four 5-foot habanero trees that yielded about 500 peppers.
"I accidentally grew about 25 pounds of Habaneros and had to figure out what the fuck to do with them," Kessler said.
The Fullerton, California native took all those habaneros and tried his hand at hot sauces. With just a few cooking classes under his belt, Kessler went at it and tested different types of sauces before finding ones that worked well.
"I'm a late-night kitchen geek," Kessler said. "I have no fear of experimenting in the kitchen. I've made more mistakes than Lindsay Lohan."
All his experimenting led him to the 2014 Orange County Fair where his sauce placed 1st in the hot sauce competition, letting him know that his sauces were for real.
Update, July 24: Now two-time defending hot sauce champion as Kessler won the 2015 hot sauce competition at the OC Fair Friday.
After making rounds in the OC, pushing his sauces, he found a home in Santa Ana's 4th Street Market, where he has an outlet to keep experimenting with different sauces and produce them, pretty much whenever he wants.
That's where we met him and got a behind the scenes look at his sauce-making secrets.
As we watched the sauce master work, he created a special blend using roasted carrots, mango, lime juice and scorpion peppers. The SauceBeast as he called it, is now his seasonal Tiki Torch flavor, and joins his Original Infinity Sauce, Double Chipotle, Ghost Monkey and Tri-Habasaurus Rex flavors.
If you need a new spicy, yet sweet sauce recipe for the summer, we've got you covered. Check out the process below and give it a shot for yourself: