Talking to… Chilli Bro’s NZ

Bree meets Adam to learn about these besties and their love of all things Hot

What is your real name?

Adam Turnbull

So that we can identify your products, can you describe your logo to us, is there a story behind it – how did it come about?

Our Logo is Chillibros, the story behind it is my best friend and I love chilli sauce so much so we spend a small fortune buying them in and eating kg’s of wings sampling them, best bros eating hot sauce.

Tell us, what were the biggest challenges you faced to get your products/brand where they are today?

 I was very lucky knowing a few people to connect me with glassware companies and a company to get fresh chillies and helping me to boost brand awareness without spending much money, my biggest struggle is not having enough time in the day to do as many batches of hot sauce that I’d like to do.

I have always loved chilli, but more so in the last few years after I learnt how big it really is, Culley’s got me addicted, and it grew from there, then once grounded was only logical to invest in myself and start buying plants, and still am to this day.

Since that day, what major changes have taken place in the business and were they strategic, commercial or enforced for reasons geological, cultural, ethical, ecological, political for example?

Since then, I have invested in my own labels, printer and a lot of chilli plants, the goal is to be self sufficient and only buy the staples. I am lucky where I live we have pretty good weather, a huge house and plenty of space for my business to grow.

As a chilli magazine (selfishly) do you know how many varieties of chillies have you guys produced this year?

I have so far, Caroline reapers, Trinidad Scorpions, Bhut Jolokia, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Poblano, Jalapeno, Cayenne, Rocoto, Devil’s tongue,  Flame and a few un-named surprises, around 50+ plants and growing.

Is there a species you’ve tried to produce but are yet to master?

Luckily I have been way too overprotective and have produced pods on all plants, touch wood I don’t lose any.

What is the most popular product you have?

I have been lucky to sell out constantly, but mostly the favourite has been Mango and Pineapple, and Blueberry and passionfruit. I’m a huge fruit fan.

Do you enjoy chilli yourself? Which is your favourite a) to eat and b) to grow?

 I am obsessed, chillies are a huge part of my life, mostly I eat sauce 3 times a day or more, I think A. It’s tasty and B. its healthy to have and helps your body in a great way, my favourite chilli would be the Moruga or Big Black Mama ( BBM ). To grow, my Cayennes and Reapers have done super well, Cayenne is borderline to big.

Who are the people behind the company, tell us a bit about your team, who they are and what they do?

 Behind the Company Is my wife and I, and everyone else for giving us the support to continue to do what I love. My Wife and I both work full time and do this as well, some days being 16-18 hours. My wife looks after all of the admin, delivery, track and trace, payments and helping to produce sauce.

Have you got any exciting plans for 2020, new campaigns, investments?

2020 is going to be huge, my goal is to grow my facebook audience, produce more sauce, be apart of more markets, competitions locally and nationwide ( hopefully ) and get my product overseas. Maybe even sponsor certain events at some stage.

Other than chilli, what’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

 Chilli, chilli and more chilli, and fresh fruit. I love the flavours, natural sweetness, textures and how much people seem to love it.

Have you got any funny chilli stories?

Funniest story would of been My Best friend and I eating a tablespoon of Culleys firewater on a wing, and the body went it to shock, we were running around the house, hiding in the shade, literally drinking anything we could, and it just got hotter and hotter, until it all exited. And now have such a tolerance for it it goes on everything. Also Blending a nice ruby red sauce and the lid came off and literally looked like a massacre in the kitchen, a very hot disaster.

What was the last thing you ate that blew your head off?

Another experience with my best mate was with exhorresco hot sauce, a shared Teaspoon each down the hatch, honestly was like my body hated me for about 20 minutes, its like a high that you’re upset about. But we did it…for Science. 

There’s loads of amazing artisan chilli sauces out there (and some real mass-produced crap), which ones do you like and why?

 Aldersons, Bonsai Banger, Fire dragon hot sauce, these guys produce hot, tasty, flavourful well excited hot sauces which I highly recommend.

Have you fulfilled your chilli dream or are there more things you want from your products?

I have fulfilled it in the sense I have been able to produce something that someone loves, but as for my dream, well i’m not even close. But as for what I want with my products, nothing. I love what I do, if I’m not happy it gets thrown out.

Do you have other flavours or ideas in the pipeline?

The best thing about being the small guy is I have the ability to chop and change with the season and produce, i will never run out of ideas or flavours, ever.

Briefly, where can we find your product?

 You can find me at there will be an instagram and website later in the year.

Do you visit any chilli festivals? Which chilli event is your favourite?

Sadly where I am and the day job I do makes it hard, along with a work life balance, but part of growing a brand, and brand awareness is being apart of festivals, so the goal will be to partake in them maybe towards the end of the year.

What advice could you offer someone wanting to make their own sauces?

 The best advice is listen to your guts, trust your taste buds, have a second opinion. If you trust your sauce tastes good, looks good and smells good it will do good. And know your worth.

Has anyone famous ever tried your products, where did it happen and what did they think?

 Famous no….I don’t think, a few people we know, like Chilli Gaz, whose opinion I appreciate just as much as if it was someone famous.

Quick-fire questions:

Drink of choice?  Heineken or Peroni

Fav meal?  Angus Eyefillet steak, and Creamy mushrooms with some crusty Bread

Fav sauce? Other than my own..Chris Cullens, Brutality. Sweet, Hot, and tasty as hell.

Fav Band? Eminem

Fav Chilli? Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

Holiday destination? Vietnam or anywhere in asia.

Any other hobbies? Photography

Fav saying/quote/motto?  Try it..for science.

Food festival or music festival?  Never really been to a big one 🙁 Working on it.

Finally, if you could cook for anyone who would it be and what would you make for them?

Brett Mcgregor. Great chef, I would have to make his pork belly bun that he has in his cookbook Chop Chop. and add chilli.