Q&A with David Floyd, Author of "101 Chilies To Try Before You Die"


David Floyd started working in high tech sales and marketing, but over the past 30 years he has been involved with many businesses from eCommerce Software development, computer memory and modems, and even fiber optical networking. In between times, he launched his own brand of chili based snacks (Crisps/Chips), licensed his chili flavorings for use on plantain chips, and even opened chili retail outlets in shopping malls.  Also during this time, he wrote articles for www.chilefoundry.com on an almost daily basis. His newest book, "101 Chilies To Try Before You Die," brings his love of chilies to the printed page and is the quintessential guide to everything chili pepper. Read on for more information about this book from Firefly Books, Ltd. and enter for a chance to win one of five copies!

1. How did you become a chili aficionado? What is the allure of chilies for you?

About 30 years ago, I was involved in sales and marketing hi-tech products. This involved me traveling to the USA and during my travels I was introduced to Mexican, Tex-Mex and Thai cooking. This opened my eyes and taste buds to more that just Indian Hot dishes that were prevalent UK. I started bringing back sauces and equipment in my luggage, it also became a thing with my US colleges to try to 'burn the Brit.' I remember being taken to a Thai restaurant and really suffering badly from the heat, while all about me enjoyed their meal, it was not until much later I was told they had organized to have my food perked up a little. Since then I have written a couple of books about chilies, given talks about tasting and growing chilies, and made and sold chili products at events and festivals in the UK. The true allure for me of chilies has not just been the heat. As I get older, I am becoming more of a 'wimp'. I now look more for the flavor they can impart to a dish, a hot sweet Paprika, Jalapeno, Chipotles and one of my all-time favorites the Scotch Bonnets are just such amazing flavors. 2. How many varieties of chilies are in existence and how hard was it whittling the featured chilies down to 101? How did you determine which chilies made the cut? I started with over 400+ varieties and started collecting information, stories, and collated my tasting notes. During this process lots of them merged into single varieties like the Poinsettia, which is so similar to the Takanotsume and the Hawks Claw Pepper that it seemed obvious that they were probably the same variety, just renamed for marketing purposes. There are probably 100's of chilies that get called the "Birds Eye". It all depends on where it has come from; it seems to cover almost all small thin curved chilies. Once I had enough information about each variety, the final cut came down to making sure I had chilies from around the world, and across the complete spectrum of heat levels. 3. What are some of your favorite chilies and why? Was there ever a specific chili that you came across that was just too hot for your taste buds to handle? Pimientos de pardon - I always buy some when I can get them, best when a little immature when you get the best mixture of flavor and heat. Leave them on the plant too long and they will all turn hot. Jalapeno - I love the unique flavor, you cannot mistake a jalapeno Criolla Sella - Such a wonderful flavor, great in a fresh citrus style salsa. Scotch Bonnet - How can you have a goat or lamb curry with out a Scotch Bonnet and they are almost universally available? As for to hot to handle, almost everything in the Super Hot chapter comes into that category, tastings of that section could best be described are hiccup inducing, followed by pain and then ice cream. 4. What makes your book the definitive guide for chilies? What features in your book will readers find really helpful? I have tried to cover a complete range of chilies all graded by heat level, so you can pick your favorites and see what else is on offer. 5. Why should we accept the 101 chili challenge? Don't think of it as a challenge, more of a guide to what you should try next. I would love people to tick off chilies they have tried.

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WIN ONE OF FIVE COPIES OF "101 Chilies To Try Before You Die"!To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Saturday, November 5, 2016 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:How do you like your peppers? Mild, medium, hot or super hot?Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

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Shelley Pierce

Shelley Pierce was a writer for Gardening Know How, contributing to hundreds of articles for the site.