From the Vancouver Business Journal:
Years ago, while serving abroad, Battle Ground resident Dave Silagy developed a love for hot sauce. And not just any hot sauce – we’re talking about unforgettable, bold and fresh flavors.
Since that time, Silagy’s passion for peppers hasn’t cooled. Now, after countless experiments in the kitchen, he’s ready to get the word out about his own ready-to-buy brand of hot sauce called Silagy Sauce.
“When this started I just wanted to make some hot sauce that had heat and flavor, so we (Silagy and his son, Mitchell) just started messing around with it,” he explained. “We’ve been trying different combinations of peppers and spices and just kept testing it on our friends.”
Constant requests from friends to bottle Silagy Sauce led to the notion that they could have a successful business endeavor on their hands, so the Silagys arranged to use the commercial-grade kitchen at The Cedars on Salmon Creek golf course in Brush Prairie.
“They (The Cedars) have a huge kitchen,” said Silagy, “and they’re not open all of the time, so it works out perfectly.”
The Silagys now use the golf course’s commercial kitchen to prepare and package two flagship flavors: Smokin Habanero, a red sauce, and Cilantro Lime Serrano, a tangy green sauce. Both sauces are made with fresh ingredients and contain no concentrates or preservatives.
“And we have more flavors that we’re working on now,” added Silagy. “We’re trying to come out with a Thai pepper-type hot sauce, but we just haven’t been able to balance it yet. It’ll be hot.”
Since receiving the go-ahead from the FDA to sell their sauces about three weeks ago, the Silagys have already sold an estimated 600 bottles. They are currently available at Battle Ground Produce, Amboy Market, and restaurants such as Mill Creek Pub and Northwood Public House and Brewery.
The next order of business, Silagy said, is getting his sauce into more stores and restaurants in and around Clark County. He recently submitted the necessary paperwork to sell his products at Chuck’s Produce, and plans to do the same thing at New Season’s Market.
The Silagys are also targeting online sales, which should be up and running on their website, www.silagysauce.com, within the month. Area farmers markets are on the agenda as well.
“We’re trying to stay local,” noted Silagy. “We signed up for the Salmon Creek Farmer’s Market. We also tried to sign up for the downtown Vancouver market, but it’s full. There are a couple other ones that we’re signing up for too.”
Though the promise of rapid growth is exciting, Silagy said it has to be smart growth, and he isn’t ready to hand off the recipe to a manufacturer that might cut corners to save money.
“We want something that we want to eat, something that we use,” he said.
And another reason Silagy isn’t about to hand off the work – he’s having too much fun doing it.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life and I would say this is probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done,” he laughed. “When you make stuff like this you think, ‘my friends are just telling me it’s good because they’re my friends.’ Now I’ll be sitting in a restaurant and someone will come by and go, ‘you’re the hot sauce guy! I love your sauce!’ I’m famous – how about that?”
This article can be viewed at: https://www.vbjusa.com/news/top-stories/local-hot-sauce-makers-bringing-heat-flavor/
From The Reflector:
The Pacific Northwest might not immediately scream “spicy” in regard to food, but a local family-run operation is bringing more than just heat to Clark County.
Silagy Sauce, an operation of the Silagy family originally conceived by family patriarch Dave Silagy, has hit store shelves at a handful of locations across the county in the last month to great fanfare. Dave said that at Battle Ground Produce, one of the locations where the sauce is offered, 200 bottles of the family’s sauce sold out in about three weeks. Over at the Amboy Market, the sauce managed to break 100 bottles sold in a weekend.
Currently, the Silagys have two kinds of sauce available — a “Smokin Hot Habanero” red and a “Cilantro Lime Serrano Sauce” green. Although both certainly have some heat, flavors other than capsaicin set both sauces apart.
The habanero sauce relies heavily on its smoked ingredients for a barbecue-style flavor, while the cilantro lime features a lighter zest that the Silagys call their “everything sauce” due to its usefulness on just about everything.
“That’s my number-one seller,” Dave said about the cilantro lime sauce.
He suggested putting it on fish tacos for a solid combination.
Although the business has only recently been retailing their sauces after getting approval from the appropriate agencies, making sauce has been something Dave has been doing for about two years now. It was initially out of necessity — having four sons in the household made the flavor enhancer a hot commodity.
“We were going through about a gallon of hot sauce every month,” Dave said. Beginning with an attempt to replicate a Caribbean-style sauce, he began making adjustments, using the family as his test subjects for the new concoctions.
Once the process started to pick up, family friends were clamoring for Dave to look into doing something a little more commercial with the product.
When not making sauces, Dave helps to run the family business, Cheyenne Manufacturing. As that job is a full-time affair, he needed some assistance in running the sauce operation, which just so happened to come in the form of one of his sons, Mitchell.
Mitchell said he got involved with the business after a skiing accident left him with a broken leg late last year. Needing something to do in the meantime, he started working on the sauces with his father, and now he’s taking on the bulk of the operation.
“It was really a blessing for me because I really love working with my family and working with something that I’m passionate about,” Mitchell said. He said the sauce was a way for his family to share something with the public that they do well. He recalled how when he was growing up, anytime Dave was on the grill the neighborhood would be clamoring to get in on the delicious action.
Currently, several local locations either sell or use the product in their own food from Amboy to Hazel Dell. With business booming, the Silagys have a bit of a happy problem as they are essentially at capacity in terms of production for the clientele they have built up so far.
The next step for the business is fine-tuning the supply chain to make sure that the ingredients — fresh, not canned or concentrated — are available enough to meet increased demand. Once that’s shored up, Dave said they are looking at the possibility of expanding their repertoire with another sauce. He said they are researching a Thai chili with lemongrass to provide one more flavor to the roster.
Dave also mentioned the possibility of delving into Bloody Mary mixes or barbecue sauces. He said that a from-scratch barbecue sauce he made using the Smokin Hot Habanero was “off the charts” with its flavor.
As to what sets Silagy Sauce apart from other sauce makers, Dave explained it was a focus on more than just heat for heat’s sake. A lot of the products he had seen available were heavy on vinegar and relied on liquid smoke as opposed to “the real thing.”
Actually smoking the ingredients is a big part of the process, as Dave explained that when researching the sauces, picking a proprietary blend of wood to burn is what leads to the Silagy signature flavor.
Although the Silagys have interest in growing the business, they will stay small if it comes at the cost of their handiwork.
“That may be one of our limitations with our product line is that we are not going to compromise. This is what we want,” Dave said, adding that should the business approach the point of getting too big to do it hands-on, that would likely be time for the business would stop growing.
Apart from the hand-crafted process, the sauces’ versatility was another point both Silagys touted.
“If you want something that is going to give you a little bit of heat and is going to give you a lot of flavor … it complements everything from eggs, to hamburgers to tacos,” Dave said.
“We have yet to find something it doesn’t work good on,” Mitchell added.
This article can be viewed at: http://www.thereflector.com/food/article_e60cbc98-2f77-11e7-936a-e7a55e8a511c.html