MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We’ve all been there: we meant to order one thing, and instead we get something else.
A Twin Cities Chef had that happen with hot peppers, but he turned that mistake into a growing business.
This week Jason DeRusha Eats Cry Baby Craig’s Hot Sauce.
Craig Kaiser thought he had it all figured out.
If he popped habaneros, it was because of his job as a top chef at Minneapolis’ Cafe Maude.
“I also missed being a dad. And that was the main focus. I started coming to the end of my rope of not having time with him,” Kaiser said.
Nearly four years ago, Kaiser and his wife had a baby son, Craig Junior.
Around that time at work things went amiss.
“A delivery shows up and it was wrong,” Jason DeRusha asked.
“Yes I ordered jalapeños and they sent habaneros. It’s typically too hot of a chili to use in our cuisine. But I didn’t want to waste them,” Kaiser said.
So he put them in a brine and pickled them. One slow day, he made the habaneros into a sauce.
“It yielded about two quarts. And it was just for fun. And between the staff and I it disappeared in about two weeks. That’s when it dawned on me, maybe I’m on to something,” he said.
His wife went back to work, and Kaiser quit his job to stay home with his baby.
“He was waking up from a nap, and we were talking about names and that’s when it came up. Wah-wah, and I’m like, Cry Baby Craig. So, it stuck, it was a fluke,” Kaiser said.
Dad and Cry Baby Craig make deliveries together to a couple dozen local restaurants.
The sauce is hot, but with real depth. Garlic, sweet smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin all come together in the sizzling sauce.
“What do you put your hot sauce on,” DeRusha asked.
“About everything except cereal,” Kaiser laughed.
Sometimes you feel like life is sending you a message.
“Now, did I wake up and say this is what I want to do, I want to make sauce. No? But it happened and I’m running with it,” Kaiser said.
Minnesota law allows people to sell food items that have been pickled without going through a whole process and Kaiser pickles the habaneros
You can get it at Hola Arepa, Tiny Diner and Grand Cafe.
He’s also just launched a website– if you’re interested in ordering sauce.