Steven Buck - Founder of Catford Fire

My story is simple. I grew up in South East Asia, so the seed was planted early for me to be a chilli lover. I’m lucky enough to have travelled around the world and have eaten a lot of food – much of it spicy.

I got into the whole hot sauce thing on my frequent trips to the US and other places for work, and realised that making chilli sauce couldn’t be too difficult.

Fast forward to now, when we’ve all had a lockdown project or two. One of mine started when my beloved shop to get my sauce fix was closed due to the pandemic and supplies were starting to dwindle. I thought – now is the time to give it a try. I surprised myself by my first effort (in a good way), and started offering tasters to my friends. The feedback was really good. Now, my friends aren’t “reach for the stars” kind of people. If the sauce was rubbish, they’d have told me. Then, one of them said “you should sell this”. And that’s how it started.

I knew I wanted to do fresh ingredients. I knew I wanted to use only UK ingredients when in season. I knew I wanted to keep it small batch. I knew I wanted to avoid chilli extracts. I knew I would only sell stuff I would happily buy myself. I knew everything would be plant based, too. I am also my own customer – I love the stuff.

And here we are.