Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Home » Pepper X: Eating World’s Hottest Pepper was Euphoric, Says Creator

Pepper X: Eating World’s Hottest Pepper was Euphoric, Says Creator

by Thomas Burke
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Ed Currie eats, sleeps and breathes peppers. He calls it his “obsession”.

He starts “every morning with what is essentially pepper oil” in his coffee.

After taste-testing peppers and hot sauces all day for his South Carolina company, PuckerButt Pepper Company, he will add peppers or hot sauce to his dinner. His favourite pepper to cook with, though not his own creation, is a chocolate scotch bonnet.

“I eat peppers all day long,” he says. “If there’s the right kind of dessert around, I tend to put something hot on my dessert.”

Even as a pepper connoisseur, tasting his own creation, Pepper X, which was crowned the world’s hottest pepper earlier this week by Guinness World Records, had him “literally bent over groaning in pain” for three or four hours.

“When I ate a whole one, you get the flavour right away. But immediately that heat hits – and the heat, for me, was unbearable.”

He says it was like an out-of-body experience.

“It was kind of euphoric,” he says. “Because I was getting an endorphin rush.”

Someone handed him a milkshake to ease the pain but “that only made the heat increase”. And the heat kept rising for nearly an hour.

“I started getting cramps and, you know, your body perceives capsaicin as a poison.”

Capsaicin is the chemical that gives humans the burning sensation of peppers.

“Those cramps become unbearable – okay, for a man at least. A doctor explained it to me that it was akin to a menstrual cramp.”

Remarkably, after a few hours recovering, he went out to eat and had more peppers “because as my wife can tell you, I’m just an idiot.”

But he can thank his wife, Linda, for the company’s creation.

After overcoming “a long history of addiction with drugs and alcohol,” he met a woman – Linda – who didn’t want anything to do with him at the time.

“But I heard she liked salsa,” he says. “So I whipped up some salsa for a dinner I was going to that I knew she’d be at and she asked who made the salsa.”

Nine months later they got married.

Ed Currie, creator of Pepper X
Image caption,Guinness World Records awarded Ed Currie, Pepper X creator, the world’s hottest pepper title on an episode of First We Feast

What started as 1,100 pepper and tomato plants in their backyard, increased to 30,000 plants before his company was founded.

“That’s not a hobby – that’s an obsession,” he says.

His wife was the one who saw the commercial viability after they started giving hot sauces he made to friends. Twenty years on, the company is one of the largest manufacturers of hot sauces in the US.

At one point during the interview with the BBC, a PuckerButt Pepper Company employee, Tom, chimes in on the phone to talk about what it is like to work with his boss.

“This is something that most of the world doesn’t know about Ed – but I believe his true goal in life is to help people.”

“(Ed) mentioned that he was an addict. He hires 90% of us, myself included, who are in recovery. He’s given us second chances where we wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere,” he said.

Tom says Mr Currie let him live with him, his wife and children for six months until he could get on his feet.

“And now I’m paying a mortgage,” he says. “I think his passion is in hot peppers – he loves to hurt people, but I think his true passion is helping people.”

Source : BBC

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