Dan Belhumeur’s photography career was put on hold nearly a year ago.
When pandemic restrictions came into effect, the photographer found himself laid off, without a job.
“I’ve been in the photography industry for 20 years,” he said. “I just looked hard in the mirror and said, you know what, maybe it’s time to jump ship.”
Wing sauces from Uncle Charlie’s Sauce Co.
A man of many talents, Belhemuer had been casually making ketchup and barbecue sauces for friends and family for a decade.
The avid cook and hot sauce aficionado then took aim at a new career that he was passionate about, launching Deadly Dan Sauces.
“There’s a lot of things that I could be doing that I hate, you know,” Belhumeur said. “I’m trying to create a life I don’t need a vacation from.”
Although the brand has quickly gained traction since launching, it came with hours of tireless work.
Belhumeur began the production process by spending eight to ten hours a day perfecting his hot sauce recipes in his kitchen.
From his home kitchen he then began renting time at The Local Kitchen, a commercial space where he can cook, bottle and label the sauces.
“Once a week I go in there and cook for six to eight hours,” he explained. “Every time I cook, I double my batch. So, I’m up to a 20 gallon stock pot right now.”
The reasoning behind the rapid increase in production is simple, demand.
Although the company was well stocked in December, they were completely sold out by Christmas.
“People started saying, you know what, you’re creating demand,” Belhumeur said. “You’re proving that the product is that good.”
The demand has grown far beyond just customers wanting the sauces in their homes. The company has teamed up with local businesses to offer signature Deadly Dan infused dishes, like the barbecue, double-bacon cheeseburger pizza sold at the Black Cat Tavern.
“I just want to share some happiness with people,” he explained. “I didn’t really know that it was going to blow up like this.”
The one person that he is happiest to share the experience with is his wife Nicole, that company’s creative director, and mastermind behind all of their labelling.
“It’s an artist dream to have creative control,” Nicole said. “Just (letting) the ideas flow, it’s liberating.”
“We’ve worked together for a long time,” Dan added “Really, I’ve just learned when to be quiet.”
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