A strong community
Today, Chili Klaus is part of a strong community with 500,000 followers on social media and around a quarter billion views of chili tasting videos, where he tries chili with famous personalities both in Denmark and abroad. These videos have resulted in a Zulu Award, and Chili Klaus has also been a guest on the award-winning American show Hot Ones, which has millions of viewers worldwide. In addition to this, Chili Klaus gives lectures, performs at festivals, and participates in chili festivals around the world.
The chili factory is located on the harbor in Aarhus, and there are eight permanent employees and a group of students who combine their studies with a part-time job. The range has grown to several hundred products, all with chili as the main ingredient and each with a little wind strength number from 1-15. Chili Klaus exports to countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.
How did it start?
In the summer of 2013, I was engaged at Bornholms Theatre and lived on the island for two months. I had brought all my chili plants, and one day, a few hours before I was supposed to perform, I had an idea. I wanted to make a chili tasting video and try to describe the taste, nuances, and strength of some of the most influential chilies, in the same way as a wine or beer tasting.
The reality, however, was a little different. Ten minutes later, I was completely burnt out and thought that if I were to do it again, it would probably be a good idea not to do it so shortly before a performance at a theater. But I still recorded the video on a small camera and posted it on my private Facebook page and YouTube without further thought.
However, it turned out to be the starting point for a life-changing chili adventure that I couldn't have imagined at the time.
In my childhood, my home was filled with specialty cheeses that my father, who was a trained dairyman, had stored in an extra refrigerator in the garage. Maybe this is where my love for food that was a little different first began to sprout. But it was an evening at an Indian restaurant in London in the early 80s, where I ordered the spiciest dish on the menu, that really opened my eyes. I remember it as an almost transcendent experience, and I was sold.
When I discovered that it was impossible to find hot chilies in Denmark in the 90s, I started buying seeds from abroad and growing them myself. I became fascinated by how a small seed could grow into a large and exciting chili plant. By growing my own chilies, I gained insight into the different varieties, strengths, and tastes that exist among the more than 3,000 conventional chilies worldwide. If you include wild chilies, there are almost 10,000.
Today, chili is a daily and natural part of my everyday life. Besides the fantastic taste, chili is also known for its many health benefits. It contains high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are important antioxidants for the body. Chili can also help increase metabolism, reduce pain and inflammation, and even help reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course, I am happy about chili's many good properties, and I have countless hot sauces in my fridge. Hot sauce is the little extra condiment that goes with virtually all dishes. More and more restaurants today have both hot sauce and spicy dishes on the menu.
Stay spicy, folks!