I couldn’t be happier to share that Lucky Dog Hot Sauce Brown Label was named a finalist for the 2016 Good Food Awards.
Lucky Dog Hot Sauce was founded by me. I have always tried to source locally whenever possible. Sometimes, this has meant that my products are more expensive. It is both a great honor and personal reward to be a part this community of responsible food producers.
In the next few weeks, we will notify the 2016 Good Food Awards Winners. Although I would love to win, it’s a great honor to see Lucky Dog Hot Sauce selected as a finalist from a field that includes nearly 2000 products.
The Good Food Awards go beyond “hot sauce awards” and celebrate integrity, sustainability, responsibility, and excellence in food production.
It’s an honor to be part of the Good Food Awards this year. To be named as a finalist in the category is amazing. As a sauce maker, I am always striving to improve. This is my latest product, Brown Label Ridiculously Delicious Mustard Chipotle Hot Sauce.
You can wish me luck over the next few weeks, looking at the list of finalists.
Making a hot Lucky Dog Hot Sauce
Village Green Foods’ success story is Scott Zalkind, a Hayward-based hot sauce manufacturer. Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, his company, is available online and in over 300 grocery stores across the country. He has also been featured on “Hot Ones,” a TV program that focuses on hot sauces.
It took some time to find the right
Zalkind worked as a project manager in the healthcare industry in 2005. He wasn’t happy with his career path. He enjoyed making hot sauces at home in his spare time. He said, “I was a hobbyist for many years.”
Zalkind said, “I’ve loved spicy foods since I was a child.” “My brother and me would always challenge each other to eat hotter food.” Zalkind asked his friends to send him hot sauces from their travels as a grown-up. He began making his own hot sauce 16 years ago. He said, “The industry lost its mind.” Sauces were either too hot or too bland for his liking.
The next five to six years were spent perfecting his recipe. He made about 20 to 30 bottles at once, kept a few, and gave the rest to friends. He began to get interest from other people, including grocery store owners and restaurant chefs. He decided to concentrate on his hot sauce and change his career in 2012.
He tried several different manufacturers, including one that used flash-frozen New Jersey onions. This didn’t align with his California-sourced ingredients philosophy. Village Green Foods was recommended by one of his workers.
He said, “I liked their style.” “I liked their willingness and ability to source locally.”
Zalkind began selling at farmers markets, but quickly expanded to Bay Area grocery shops, wineries, and bagel shops. One of Zalkind’s sauces is also available at Cost Plus World Market.
Village Green Foods is still “a really good partnership” nine years later. His products have won scores of national awards at food and barbecue festivals and are now available in hundreds of retail stores across the country.
Scott Zalkind’s childhood can easily be seen to have been a forerunner of the future. This is evident in this first of many fun facts about East Bay hot sauce connoisseur.
- Zalkind’s brother and younger brother used to challenge each other as children to see how many firecracker chilies they could consume in a Chinese restaurant. He said he would get “crashed out” on hot sauce regardless of the cuisine.
- Trevor Noah, a late-night host, was credited with helping him to survive the pandemic.
- He is a self-declared pacifist and regularly sends hot sauce to APO boxes in support of U.S troops. In 2011, he received an American flag from Diyala, Iraq. Also, a citation describing him as a “great American” which he keeps on his wall.
- He believes the latke is a great vehicle for Lucky Dog hot sauce.
Lucky Dog Hot Sauce is the creation of Zalkind (51), a Hayward-based artisanal product. There are over 10 varieties to choose from, as well as deals with companies for exclusive blends. Zalkind has won numerous awards, including the Good Food Award and appearances on “Hot Ones” YouTube video.
Zalkind is not the first to admit that it is overcrowded. He said that almost every cuisine has a spicy recipe. This is not a business you should be interested in if you are afraid of competition.