All about TABASCO® – an interview with chef Gary Evans
Like things hot? How much heat can you take?
We spoke to chef and Tabasco® brand ambassador Gary Evans about what happens to the taste buds when you spice things up and, more importantly, how to cool them down again.
Gary, tell us first of all what exactly is inside this tiny bottle?
Tabasco® sauce is made from all-natural ingredients like hand-picked chillies, a pinch of salt and a splash of fine vinegar. The chillies are mashed with salt on the day they’re harvested and then stored for up to three years in oak barrels. To ensure the typical Tabasco® aroma is developing nicely, we check the progress every day.
Once the salted mash has been fermented, it’s filtered and vinegar is added. It’s then left to continue fermenting for another 28 days before it’s decanted into the inimitable Tabasco® bottles and shipped around the world. That way you can add just enough heat to your food without obliterating the flavour.
Is it true that drinking water is the worst thing you can do if your meal is too hot? What do you recommend?
Spot on. It’s much better to eat or drink some dairy. A glass of milk or a piece of cheese can help as the fat in them binds capsaicin and soothes the burn.
If you love Tabasco® but can’t handle really hot flavours try adding a few drops to mayonnaise to make a less spicy dip everyone can try.
Can you ever go wrong using Tabasco® in the kitchen?
Not really. Just like other spices, it’s all about how much you use. Tabasco® makes the taste buds more receptive to the fine flavours of a dish. It always tastes good and is just the job for giving your recipe an added kick.
What dishes go best with Tabasco®?
I love adding Tabasco® to Italian cuisine. Pasta dishes and pizza profit because tomato sauce is low in fat so the spiciness can really unfold. However, Tabasco® sauce is so diverse I would never limit myself to one area. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating your own unique recipes.
What happens to our taste buds when we eat spicy food?
The whole tongue reacts to spiciness, not just one zone. Once all your taste buds have been shaken awake they’re much more sensitive to flavours. The spiciness comes from capsaicin, an active compound inside chilli peppers. The more capsaicin, the hotter the flavour. We measure spicy heat on the Scoville scale. Our original Tabasco® sauce has between 2500 – 500 Scoville heat units, but there are chillies out there with a natural spiciness of around a million!
Thanks for your invaluable tips Gary! And to our followers – have fun trying out new recipes with Tabasco® at home!