Talking to… Chilli Obsession

Bree talks love hearts and lollipops as Chilli Magazine caught up with Chilli Obsession.

What is your real name:

Tracy Hall.

Can you describe your logo to us, is there a story behind it?

My logo came from a saying of mine…. My heart is in every bottle 💖 so I combined chilli’s with a love heart.

Tell us, Tracy, what were the biggest challenges you faced to get your brand where it is today?

The biggest challenge by far is separating my products to the thousands of others on the market. Keeping my products as ONLY home grown and totally organic helps me achieve that.

When did you first become involved in chilli life, were you born into it, or what did you do before?

As an Australian child growing up in the 1970’s,  I always had access to home grown produce but it was a very plain (dare I say… Bland) diet. Then as a teen I discovered the complexity of different chilli varieties which opened a whole new world for me, but it was Neil Smith from Hippy Seed Company  who turned my fascination into a full blown obsession.

Since that day what major changes have taken place in the business?

The major change for me was definitely Facebook. I wasn’t interested in the internet at all but, when used properly, it’s an extremely valuable tool to grow a business.

Yes social media is a powerful thing! How many varieties of chilli’s have you guys produced this year?

Personally, I grow around 70 varieties of chilli’s, around 250 plants in all (don’t tell hubby lol) to grow enough in the season to keep me making sauce all year round.

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

I seem to do well with most varieties that I try but where I struggle is keeping the Pheno’s clean. X pollination is my biggest hurdle.

What is the most popular product you have?

Hmmm,  that’s a hard question… I think my tropical sauce is extremely well received and definitely my hottest one, called “Liquid Lava”. But people seemed to have taken a shine to my Psycho Candy also (chilli lollipops).

Those lollies are a great idea!
Do you enjoy chilli yourself? Which is your favourite?

I eat chilli EVERY DAY lol I’m completely addicted. My favourites would have to be the common Bhut Jolokia and the Cardi Yellow. Great looking plants, even better flavour pod’s.

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

 I am completely a one woman show although my youngest son is learning my recipes now too.

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

I can’t really grow any bigger as a business without sacrificing quality and that’s something I will never do.

Other than chilli, what is your favourite ingredient to cook with?

I love aromatics like ginger, garlic, lemongrass, thing’s like that. There are countless things you can make with a few simple flavourings like these.

Have you got any funny chilli stories?

 I have a mascot named Crikey (almost 6ft stuffed red toy chilli) and a little girl ran up to him and hugged him very tight. I asked her why she gave him such a huge hug, she looked me right in the eye and said ” because hot dogs are my favourite” hahaha. I’ll never forget that little girl.

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

I recently made a batch of “Liquid Lava”,  using only winter pods. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it was very tasty.

There’s loads of amazing artisan chilli sauces out there – which ones do you like & why?

Its been years since I’ve had commercial sauces but I vaguely remember Gringo Bandito being ok, but there’s one from Australia that I freaking LOVE.. SSB chilli Banh Mi Sauce… It’s a gorgeous product.

Oh we’ll look out for that! Have you fulfilled your chilli dream or are there more things you want from your products?

No I’m  completely content. I have a fantastic and loyal customer base and they make me very proud.

Do you have other flavours or ideas in the pipeline?

I have a few secrets up my sleeve but they are still in early development. Shhhh

Briefly where can we find your products?

Currently I’m only shipping throughout Australia as demand here is quite high.

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

I love festivals but I tend to generally support the chilli festivals near my home. In saying that, I’m hoping to go to the NZ Chilli festival next May…. Fingers crossed.

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

I’d definitely practice first. I worked on my recipes for two years before anyone outside the family knew anything about it. And write it ALL down. I go back to my original recipe’s now and see just how much they’ve changed over the years.

Drink of choice?

I’m an Aussie… Beer 😁

Fav meal?

Anything  Asian… And spicy.

BBQ sauce or Ketchup?

My spicy bbq is the bomb. I love it.

Fav band?

 have always loved the Ramone’s (and always will)

Fav chilli?

Trinidad scorpion Cardi Yellow 😋

Bottle or Jar?

Definitely bottle.

Korma or Vindaloo?

Oooooh, Vindaloo –  yuuuuuuummmmmm.

Romantic meal for two or big family feast?

I love to feed people so big family feast.

Food festival or Music?

Food festival… Music now days is horrible lol.

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

Definitely my family and chilli friends.. slow roasted pig, tonnes of veggies and a massive bowl of smoked fresh pods on the BBQ… Absolute heaven.