Jared Brodeur has always liked spicy foods.
“Growing up, my old man was always growing hot peppers and so I was always interested in hot sauces,” he said. As a result, Mr. Brodeur turned his passion for peppers into a company called Decimation Hot Sauce. The budding business offers a variety of gluten-free hot sauce flavors ranging from the milder poblano and roasted red peppers to the spicier zest of the habaneros and jalapeños.
“I kind of got started on a whim with the whole thing,” he said. “My uncle brought a pound of fresh habaneros over for Thanksgiving a few years ago and they just sat there. No one touched them because what are you going to do with them?” Habaneros are small chili peppers and one of the hotter varieties of peppers available. “After they sat for a few days, I thought, well, I’ll just make a hot sauce with them.”
Mr. Brodeur, who has taken nutrition, food science, and food safety courses in an effort to become a dietician, said he’s always loved cooking and the idea of owning his own food business was appealing. He then began to experiment with ingredients to make his hot sauce.
“I love cooking. I have a restaurant background and a lot of the recipe was trial and error,” he said. “I tried new peppers from really hot to really mild, seeing how they mixed. Just playing around in the kitchen was really how it got going. At first, I added this and that, and the next thing you know, I had 30 different ingredients in there. I learned quickly that’s not the way to go about it.”
Mr. Brodeur, using his background in nutrition as a driving force, said the key to great hot sauce is the use of simple, quality ingredients directly from local farms. This adds to the quality of his sauces.
“I like to keep things very minimal, but keep the maximum flavor using the most minimal ingredients,” he said. “For me personally, things can get crazy using tons of ingredients. I pride myself on using minimal ingredients, with no preservatives, no chemicals, and no shelf-stabilizing agents. That’s what’s important […] I always knew good hot sauce is less processed and didn’t have high fructose corn syrup, which is found in the commercial hot sauces.”
Once he nailed the recipe, “I was like wow, this is so good.”
Mr. Brodeur then began giving out his new creation to friends. “They were impressed by it,” he said. “So, I was like, okay, I’ll take the next jump and see if I can make it into a thing, you know?”
At first, he felt overwhelmed by the process of starting his own business. He needed to find commissary kitchen space in Worcester to start producing his hot sauce but had no idea where to begin. A simple Google search garnered Worcester Regional Food Hub as the first result. The Food Hub and its Director Shon Rainford proved to be the best thing for Mr. Brodeur’s fledgling business venture.
The Food Hub currently operates a food incubator business at the nearby Greendale People’s Church at 25 Francis St. A food incubator business provides time-shared access to a commercial kitchen to help local businesses and food entrepreneurs. The Food Hub provides startup and existing food entrepreneurs with hourly kitchen rentals, technical assistance, workshops, and support.
“The Food Hub has been such a great tool for me,” he said. “They were so friendly and willing to help the business grow […] Shon is such a helpful and knowledgeable guy, such an amazing resource, and so willing to help at all times. I’m so thankful for my relationship with him. The Food Hub is such an amazing thing.”
Decimation Hot Sauce products can now be found inside the Worcester Public Market and Julio’s Liquors in Westborough. Mr. Brodeur also has an opportunity to expand into the wholesale market. He’s working to grow into local supermarkets and a pop-up deli business called Decimation Deli.
“It’s been cool making hot sauce and cooking food for people,” he said. “It’s really rewarding seeing people excited about it.”
Kevin Saleeba is a correspondent for the Worcester Chamber. The Chamber Exchange editorial team can be reached by email here.
This story was originally published in the February 2022 edition of Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper, a quarterly publication of the Chamber. All newspaper editions are archived here.