My passion for spicy foods is undoubtedly a result of my upbringing

My mother is Belizean and I spent much of my childhood with my grandparents on her side (a Belizean grandmother and Jamaican grandfather).  I was raised on a fusion of foods with English, Mexican and Caribbean influences and chillies and hot sauce were never far away.  I used to enjoy helping my grandmother in the garden where all kinds of fruits and vegetables were grown and chillies were a staple in the greenhouse.

John Paul Maillard

As I grew so did my passion/obsession with chillies and by 2018, when the Johnny HoT Stuff brand was launched, I had grown 17 different varieties and 44 plants in my poly-tunnels and greenhouse. Varieties from the mildest, Anaheim at around 1,000 schoville heat units to the Carolina Reaper, which can reach a crazy 2.4 million SHU!

I decided to launch Johnny HoT Stuff as a result of friends and family constantly telling me that I “really should sell this stuff” when I used to hand out samples of my homemade hot sauces, marinades, powders etc and as somebody who loves to shop local and try artisan products I thought I’d give it a shot. I launched a couple of hot sauces at the 2019 Eat Food Festival in Henley and the feedback was incredible and I am now looking forward to launching more exciting and interesting chilli based creations in 2020 from my new kitchen at Henley Village.

One product that is launching soon and I am incredibly proud of is my Fruity Bonnet HoT Sauce. It’s a fairly mild, tangy, fruity sauce that goes great with a typical English breakfast among other things. The main reason that I am proud of this particular launch is to do with more that just the sauce in the bottle though.

In January 2020 my Grandma passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and seeing somebody you love so much go through that is a heart wrenching experience.  I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody, yet most of us will be affected by dementia in some way, shape or form. Her image features, alongside my late grandfathers on my product label in a partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, that will raise £1 for every bottle sold, and that will go directly to the charity.

My hope is to raise at least £2000 for what I see as a very worthy cause and it will serve as a tribute to my wonderful grandma who is and always will be greatly missed. I plan to put the HoT into Henley on Thames in 2020 and would like to thank the many wonderful residents and businesses of our beautiful town for their continued support.