“I grow my own chillies here in Devon. I sow the seeds and then move them to three commercial glasshouses that I rent from my local council. I then use the chillies to make small batch artisan products by hand.”
“As well as doing this, we also have a chilli-themed catering unit which we use to travel around the UK selling handmade steak burgers which are infused with my chillies, along with chilli sausages, chilli con carne & pakora battered jalapenos.”
The reason that Cliff decided to set up the Devon Chilli Man was the lack of products on the market. “I was disappointed with what was available to buy and was told by my friends and family that what I make tastes so much better!”
Cliff describes himself as a “chilli head” and told us that he chooses to cook with chillies because he “just craves the flavour and heat that a chilli can give.”
As mentioned earlier, all the chillies used by the Devon Chilli Man for his products are homegrown. Cliff used to rent a community shared glasshouse but now rents three solely for himself as he needed more space.
“Growing my own chillies is my passion and it means I am in control of how they are grown. For instance, I never use any chemicals or pest control and am lucky to have a company called Mite Munchers that provide me with natural predators like ladybirds and parasitic wasps etc… Mother nature is the way and I also use plants to attract good predators.”
If you visit the Devon Chilli Man website, you will see that they have lots of different chilli products available. Whether you want mild and fruity, sweet and hot or the “hottest and tastiest the UK has to offer.”
We asked Cliff where he gets the inspiration for flavours and he told us: “I am lucky as right from my teens I have been involved in catering in one form or another. Most of the flavour ideas I think up in my head and they seem to work well… That’s what my loyal customers tell me regularly!”
As well as selling chilli sauces and marinades, the Devon Chilli Man also sells fresh pods, chilli flakes, gift sets and even growing equipment. So, if you’re looking for the perfect present for a chilli enthusiast, or fancy having a go at growing your own plants, then look no further!
“I decided to expand the business to offer these other products because my customers kept asking for them. And they’ve proved extremely popular ever since!”
When it comes to his favourite recipe, Cliff said it has to be the Gibbering Smoke. It’s made using twenty hour oak smoked jalapenos, Bramley apples and ‘Gibbering Idiot chillies’ to give it an extra kick.
We asked Cliff which product he would recommend to any chilli lovers out there and he told us “people need to taste my chilli chocolate fudge which is made using my own homegrown, fresh chillies.”
Cliff spends most of his time focusing on his business, from the planting of the chillies and making his products, to selling them and running his catering business. He told us that he “very rarely gets any spare time” as the business has grown massively which he is “extremely grateful for.”
When it comes to the future of the Devon Chilli Man, Cliff said he wants “to keep doing what I am doing and one day employ my children.”
“I’ve just had some absolutely amazing news that I have secured a three-year partnership/sponsorship with the world leading nutrient company CANNA UK. With this and the continued support of AutoPot Watering Systems, I couldn’t be more excited!”
With any food producer, it is essential to have insurance to cover both the business and its customers. Cliff finished the interview by saying: “insurance is so important to not only protect your business but give your customers 100% complete confidence.”