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The Lethbridge Herald
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January 12, 2001:
Clayton Gross
"Basil's a hot commodity"

Local pepper sauce maker wins international award for fiery concoction

Fire and brimstone is no longer reserved for the pulpit - and Basil Simmons's version is arguably more popular.
Basil's Fire and Brimstone gourmet pepper sauce, made right here in Lethbridge, recently captured first place in the international hot sauce category in an annual competition put on by Texas-based Chile Pepper magazine.
Simmon's entry - only slightly cooler than ground zero in a nuclear blast - melted the global competition, including entries from Africa, Mexico, Trinidad and beyond.
Despite the fiery coup, Simmons remains cool leading up to a trip to New York later this month to claim the award.
"This is quite an achievement for our family. It's good for Lethbridge and for Alberta," he says.
And, he adds, it should help bring sales to a rolling boil. The sauce is currently available in select grocery and specialty shops in Alberta and B.C.
The Simmons family - Photo courtesy of The Lethbridge Herald
The Simmons family - Basil, his wife Hilda, daughter Margaret and mother-in-law Marjorie - also peddle their peppery wares on the Internet.
"We've been getting calls from all four corners (of the world)," he says. "It's good for our business now."
Simmons says he wasn't expecting to capture the magazine's hottest prize.
"Everybody has told me it's good, so (I thought) why not try it on the international stage?"
The awards ceremony, appropriately entitled the Manhattan Meltdown, will give
Fire and Brimstone valuable exposure among gourmet chefs, celebrities and food critics.
And the accolades may not end with the Chile Pepper award. Several other prizes are up for grabs at the Meltdown, including Judge's Choice and the Complete Heat Award.
The
Fire and Brimstone recipe - a family secret passed down from his grandmother - came to Canada from British Guyana with Simmons 24 years ago. It proved to be the clincher that helped his team, Simmons' Hot Gourmet Foods, capture the hottest chili award in the Downtown LA Summer Fun Fest 2000 Chili Cook-Off.
"It started as a hobby. But it (took off) faster than we expected," he says.

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