In the summer of 2013, I was working at the theatre on Bornholm. That involved living on the island for 2 months, and I had brought all my chili plants with me. One day - a couple of hours before a performance - I came up with the idea of making a chili-tasting video. I would try to describe the taste, nuances and strengths of some of the most influential chilies, just as you do at a wine or beer tasting. Things would turn out a little differently. 10 minutes later I was completely burned out and thought that, if I were to do the same again, it probably wasn’t the best idea to do it just before going on stage. But… as I said, I recorded it on a little camera, posted it on my private Facebook page and YouTube, but without imagining that I had sowed the seeds for a life-changing chili adventure.
Back to the beginning
My father was a trained dairy technician and in my childhood home we had an extra fridge in the garage, which was used to store all the most pungent cheeses my mother refused to have in her fridge. I don’t know if it was there that I acquired a taste for food that was a bit different, but I certainly got a real eye opener at an Indian restaurant in London in the early 80s. I ordered the strongest dish on the menu. I remember it as an ‘out of body experience’. There was no turning back.
I simply had to try it again. The problem was that I couldn’t find chilies of that strength and taste in Denmark, so I started buying seeds abroad and growing them myself. To this day, I find it fascinating that a small seed can grow into such a thrilling chili plant. I learned about the all the different chili varieties, strengths and flavours.
Later, I became interested in finding out how different cultures have used chili as a flavour enhancer in food. Many of us have eaten a spicy dish in Thailand, but chili features in different cuisines around the world and is used in so many different ways.
A strong community
The story of my chili journey started in 2013. I have had some amazing experiences and made many new friends around the world. But most of all, I have had the opportunity to make a living from my great passion - the world's strongest fruit - the chili.
Today, the Chili Klaus brand has a strong community of 500,000 followers on social media and around 1/4 billion views of my chili tasting videos with celebrities in Denmark and abroad. The videos have won me a Zulu Award and on numerous occasions I have been a guest on the award-winning American show Hot Ones that has millions of viewers worldwide.
My small chili factory is located on the waterfront of the Danish city of Aarhus. I have 8 full-time employees plus an army of students who combine their studies with a part-time job.
The range has grown to several hundred product numbers. The main ingredient of all the products is chili and they all have a ‘wind force’ of 1-15. Chili Klaus exports to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the USA.