Dorset Chilli Festival
When I met David Tamlyn of Weymouth51 earlier this year at the at the Dorset Chilli festival I sensed there was an interesting story to be told about this interesting character in the UK Chilli world. As a blogger on the Chilli Workshop, I am always interested to find out how Chilli sauce businesses came into being. To me it is a fascinating subject.
What initially caught my eye was the interesting names he had for his Chilli sauces, including Rhubarb and Custard, Tutti Fruity and Scorpion on the beach. Never mind the likes of Rockfish Oyster Drizzle, Allotment Special and The Kicker. These names really intrigued me, so I had to find out more. To do just that I asked David if I could interview him. He agreed and what I found out didn’t fail to disappoint.
I learnt that Rhubarb and Custard got its name when David (who grows his own Chillies) noticed that a mixture of yellow and red Chillies (Yellow Jigsaws, Jamaican Yellow, Yellow Trinidad Perfume, Lemon Aji and Red Naga Chillies) he had picked to make sauce and placed in a wheelbarrow looked remarkably like the dessert. Thus, the name was borne
Where do the names come from?
The inspiration behind the names of these fabulous sauces is the husband-and-wife partnership of David and his wife Mikka. Between them they have not only created sauces with intrueging flavours but also given them names that appeal to the imagination
Tutti Frutti, for example was named after the Italian confectionary. Tutti Frutti literally means many fruits. The sauce gets its name from the fact that it is made from a selection of Chillies with the names of fruit that it contains. The sauce includes Apple crisps (a mild, thick-walled Chilli with a thick crispy skin), Cherry Bombs, Aji Limones and Orange and Peach Habaneros
Scorpion on the beach gets its name from the cocktail – Sex on the beach. It is made Super scorpions, vodka, peach schnapps, fresh summer peaches, oranges, cranberries, topped with cherry. It is a fruity sauce with a nice background note that never fails to please
Now that is not where it ends, these sauces form only a part Of Weymouth 51’ s range of sauces. Over and above these they make over fifteen regular sauces and a selection of sauces that they refer to as their guest list. These are once off handmade artisan sauces that are made on a ad hoc basis as and when ingredients become available. The list includes (among others) products like 7 Pot brain strain, Fatalli gourmet jigsaw, Douglas TX (232 times as hot as Jalapeno) and Hurt Berry.
Where it all begin?
David who started his career as a chef when he was young trained under Marco Pierre White and then went on to work in under other Michelin starred Chefs like David Moore at Pied a Terre and Phil Howard at the world famous The Square in London.
David has travelled extensively – visiting Asia, South America as well as Mexico. As part of his travels David landed up in the restaurant world in Hong Kong, working for the renowned eatery The Pawn. It was while he was in Hong Kong that he met his wife to be – Mikka. It was here that they discovered that they both had a passion for food made with Chillies.
When I asked David how when he had developed a taste for Chillies, He told me he had visited Mexico as a seventeen-year-old and had eaten chicken there that was served with a Chilli sauce that was outstandingly delicious. *It was so good he virtually ate it every day he was there
The Mexican lady who owned the Cantina where the chicken was served used to ferment Chillies with lime juice in the warm Mexican weather overnight. The next day the sauce would be well fermented, and she would use them to make a delicious Chilli sauce that she served with her grilled Chicken, It was to set the scene for the future Today Many of Weymouth 51’s Chilli sauces are made using fermentation
A tragic turn of events
While this was an exciting time, unfortunately what happened next was tragic. After After arriving back in the United Kingdom David was involved in an accident that left him with some serious back injuries. This left him in terrible pain, something that continues to this day, which he alleviates by eating super-hot Chillies like Carolina Reapers
As part of his therapy David starting growing Chillies. He grew literally hundreds of varieties and before long ran out space. He began giving them away to friends. To solve the space problem, he also started growing Chillies wherever He could, whether it was in friends back gardens, allotments or any other area he could lay his hands on.
Before long David had more Chillies on his hands than he knew what to do with. Soon he was selling them in car boot sales with his son. From here David used his chefs skills to develop Chilli sauces and also started selling them at Farmers markets. The markets’ favourable reaction to these sauces made his wife (who David acknowledges as being a firehouse behind the success of their business) recognised there was potential in starting a business with Chillies as a main theme. It was the start of things to come. Weymouth 51 was to be born
The turning point. Covid
Taking the idea forward
Staying at home after the Covid lockdown added more momentum to the idea. David together with Mikkas impeccable sense for combining flavours began extending his range to include products like The Scotch (made with Scotch bonnets), Lemon Drizzle, Chocolate Orange, Dorset Naga and many more. Since then, these sauces have been successfully sold online and at Chilli sauce festivals around the UK.
They initially operated their business from home. Since then, the business has grown exponentially to such an extent they have had to rent space to accommodate their growing production and storage needs. The area they needed to house their fermentation barrels, ingredients and packaging materials had simply become far too much to operate a business from home.
As a part of this they opened they own restaurant in Weymouth offers a variety of Asian inspired cuisine and tastes. they have also expanded the range to include products like Kimchi and Moo glaze – a Korean Barbeque sauce made with Gochugaru Chillies, Chilli oils, Ketchups, Chilli powders and mustard,
Well done to David, Mikka and his children (- who are actively involved in helping in the business) to for creating sauch a wonderful range of products using Chillies. It is people like these that make the Chilli world in the United Kingdom the interesting place that it is