For many people, the spice of life is quite literally spice. For thousands of years, different cultures have discovered and cultivated the many varieties that we have on offer today for both taste and medicinal reasons. In 2011, a hub of culinary oddities appeared right here on the Sunshine Coast. Red Hot Chilli Pepper opened in Caloundra in February of that year to ‘rave’ reviews for its rarity and its presence as a one-stop shop for everything in the way of herbs and spices. For going on five years now Vicki and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper team have been working hard to bring us ‘Coasties’ a taste of the world in both their products and also in the form of workshops, advice and classes to expand horizons and palates.
“Having a love of travel and food is a huge passion of mine, and it has allowed me the opportunity to experience many different cultures and cuisines over the past 25 years. The more I travelled, the more it fuelled my desire for flavour. Spices have always intrigued me and when dining out and so I always find myself wanting to know everything there is to know about any unfamiliar flavours in the dishes I was eating. From South America to Africa to India, Asia and beyond, I picked up tastes and flavours from the dishes I had eaten that I knew I wanted to replicate back home. There is spice in my life every day and to be honest, I don’t know what I would do without it. Spice is the cheapest ingredient in any dish, yet it has the biggest impact on flavour,” Vicki Taylor, owner/operator.
At the Red Hot Chilli Pepper you will find a wide variety of themed cooking classes inspired by the spice cultures of the world. During these classes you will be in a group of fellow ‘newbies’ of no more than ten, in groups of two, making these classes a perfect activity for couples or friends alike. Every class package includes: all ingredients and cooking equipment required; recipes for all dishes that you will be introduced to; a complimentary glass of beer or wine with your lunch; a 15% discount voucher on all Red Hot Chilli Pepper brand spices, as well as the opportunity to purchase the key ingredients you will use on the day for use at home.
For example the Persian themed class, where you will learn to cook and prepare: Baharat Spice, Persian Dips and flatbread, Emperor Rice and Chicken, Shah Salad – spiced with Sumac, “King of Kings” Aubergine and Royal Dessert – finished with Persian Fairy Floss. Or, if Indian is more your speed learn to: blend Sri Lankan curry spices, cook Coconut Sambol, Coconut Chickpeas, Chicken Curry – Mangalorean Style, Spinach with Coconut and Chillies and Sri Lankan Dahl. There are also classes based on Moroccan, Mexican and The Mediterranean available. For more information on these cooking classes, visit the ‘licensed to spice’ web page.
The Red Hot Chilli Pepper has become the Sunshine Coast’s foremost spice ‘hotspot’ over the last 5 years, cultivating a strong customer base that continues to grow right along with their range of products and class offers. They have since expanded to an on-line website with built in spice store; as well as hosting a yearly ‘Chilli Challenge’ that the mere thought of brings a watery sting to my eyes. As a now committed customer, I can whole-heartedly recommend both the store and the classes to anyone looking to add a little spice back into their lives. For more information on the store itself, see the Red Hot Chlili Pepper Website.