Music lover Dave Kernaghan was really rocking at the recent Snow Patrol gig in Bangor’s Ward Park.
He brought some added spice to the show in the shape of a range of hot chilli sauces which have been embraced by the chart topping band. Based in Helen’s Bay, Dave, an IT professional who has worked in sales and marketing for international industry leaders, produces rock music themed sauces under the colourful Rock A Doodle Do – Belfast Hot Sauce branding.
Dave, a Queen’s University graduate, has been creating his own red hot sauces for almost 30 years and took the plunge in 2015 to launch the unique Rock A Doodle Do range based on his love of rock music.
The artisan enterprise, run by Dave on a part-time basis, now has customers in around 30 international markets, mostly through website sales.
“I’ve always loved hot sauces with my snacks and meals,” explains Dave.
“I probably owe it to me mother and her passion for spicy foods especially, I am told, when she was pregnant with me. I subsequently spent some time in New York and learned a lot about fiery sauces in particular there,” he adds.
He loved New York because of “the huge variety of fiery sauces so readily available there,” he continues.
It was there, for instance, he discovered Carolina Reaper, reputedly the world’s hottest chilli.
And it now features in many of his sauces. He started using it in his sauces on his return.
Dave was encouraged to consider producing the sauces for retail by friends who also enjoyed them with meals he prepared.
His first hot sauce was named after British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
“The first CD I bought was by the band,” he explains. “While I’ve listened to Iron Maiden for years, there’s a host of other rock bands I enjoy including Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult and, of course, our own legendary Snow Patrol,” he continues.
He warns that his range of sauces are “not for the faint hearted”.
They are sauces with “attitude” and the names he’s chosen for them like Fear the Reaper, Extreme Reaper, Banshee and Disaster Button are warnings to those lovers of mild flavourings to stay well clear. Some of the sauces are even available in menacing skull-shaped bottles for added effect!
How did the collaboration with Snow Patrol come about?
“It came as a complete surprise to me,” he explains. “Many bands regularly support charity organisations. Snow Patrol was keen to help Music for All and Johnny Quinn, the band’s drummer, who also loves spicy sauces, had heard about my range,” he adds.
This led to a link up with the band under the umbrella of Music for All, the charity which aims to provide musical experiences for all, through free lessons, instrument loans and through communities and different educational backgrounds.
Snow Patrol was keen to involve a smaller Northern Ireland food company in the initiative and to provide a platform to sell their original products at gigs across the country including at Ward Park, the biggest rock gig here this year.
“It was a great idea and tremendous fun to look at Snow Patrol songs and tie in our hot sauce ranges. It’s an inspirational initiative,” continues Dave.
Three songs chosen are: If there’s a Rocket, tie me to it, which Dave describes as “a delicious Ghost chilli sauce that features one of the hottest chillies in the world”; Don’t Give In, a sizzlingly hot BBQ sauce that combines the Trinidad Scorpion Chilli with a local whiskey for an extra hot BBQ sauce; and Disaster Button, an extra, extra hot chilli sauce that uses the hottest chilli in the world, The Carolina Reaper. The sauces were promoted and sold at the big gig in Bangor.
Apart from the fiery chillies, all the sauces are based on local ingredients, many of which are sourced by Dave from other traders taking part with him at the iconic St George’s Market in Belfast every weekend.
They include smoked salt and pepper from North Coast Smoke House in Ballycastle and Farmageddon’s Golden Pale Ale from Comber.
“I love St George’s,” continues Dave. “
There’s great camaraderie among the traders and lots of amazing local food and drink.
“There’s no better place in Northern Ireland for feedback from shoppers.
“I source fresh, local ingredients and combine them with the hottest chillies in the world to produce awesome hot sauces guaranteed to add flavour and spice to the widest range of dishes.”