What’s Valentine’s Day without a little spice and flavor? At the Greenpointers Valentine’s Market this Saturday in Brooklyn, you won’t want to miss Queen Majesty’s Hot Sauce. Handmade by Erica Diehl, much like her music, her hot sauce is inspired by Caribbean culture. Performing under the name Queen Majesty, Erica DJs a weekly reggae party and hosts Jamaica Rock, a reggae show on East Village Radio. Read on to find out more about what Queen Majesty is mixing in and out of the kitchen and stream a playlist she made especially for us.
How did you end up making hot sauce?
I eat hot sauce every day. And when you can’t find exactly the taste you want, sometimes it’s easier to just make it yourself. Years ago, I worked at a design company with some fellow hot sauce lovers. We used to make hot sauce to bring in for lunch as well as do a yearly competition with ourselves and friends.
So why the urge to bottle it up and bring it to market?
There is a lot to learn about putting out your own food product, and I am still learning every day, but I thought if I kept waiting I may never try to do it. Making hot sauce is something I love doing so when some friends of mine at Secret Project Robot asked me to be a part of their Holiday market this past December I thought, alright, let’s do it.
What has been the local response to your sauce?
There’s been a really great response. Doing my first market was a lot of fun because I had samples and could be there to talk to people as they tried it for the first time and get instant feedback. A lot of people suggest getting it in stores but I like the idea of just selling online and at holiday markets for now until I can decide how to grow while still keeping the individual and handmade quality.
What is it about Caribbean culture that inspires your style, music and hot sauce?
I’m obviously inspired by Jamaican music, and because I am a reggae DJ I find myself at a lot of Jamaican parties or festivals with Jamaican food. I love the taste and the spice and this has definitely inspired my hot sauce because I wanted something that went well with Caribbean food. And then also I am doing a small part to support Jamaican agriculture by using Scotch Bonnets that come from the area.
What are your favorite food pairings with your hot sauce?
Well Caribbean food obviously but I really put it on everything. Dishes with rice, especially some asian dishes really go well with the ginger. A friend of mine from Buffalo (home of the Buffalo wing) used it for his chicken wings for the Super Bowl!
Queen Majesty’s Hot Sauce Playlist
Erica often plays reggae music while making her hot sauce. The playlist she made for us is 12 tracks, all from Studio One, one of Jamaica’s most beloved labels and studios.