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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> Fiery Foods BBQ Show

R.I.P. Mike Cates

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Mike Cates and Renate Zoschke

<At left, Mike ferries Renate Zoschke 
around on his cooler train.

We have just learned of the passing of Mike Cates, which is another blow to Hot Shots, the company that lost their leader, Dave Lutes, late last year.  Mike worked for Dave for many years and was a familiar face every year at the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show.  We do not as yet have details about his passing, but it was unexpected.  Mike made a lot of friends at the show and would constantly entertain us with his antics.  He will be sorely missed.  Our condolences to his wife and family.


RIP Dave Lutes, 1950-2009

Posted by: Dave DeWitt


Dave LutesDave Lutes, owner of Hot Shots in Charlotte, North Carolina passed away on October 22, 2009 at the age of 59. Dave was born on June 3, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio. Dave and his wife Cathy founded Hot Shots, a fiery foods distribution company that ships products worldwide, in 1983. His longtime employee, Mike Cates, wrote to me: "A compassion for the industry and his fun nature and outgoing personality helped him grow the company into what it is today.  Big Dave fought his battle against pancreatic cancer with courage, passion and a positive mental attitude.  We'll miss you always, Big Dave."

Dave and his wife were longtime exhibitors in our National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, and Hot Shots will continue to exhibit with us.  Dave was a perfect customer—loyal, fun to talk to, never complained, and was always positive, as Mike pointed out.  After I was told Thursday, I could not sleep for many hours, thinking about him.

Harald Zoschke comments:
Many fiery-foods manufacturers and vendors that we know owe a good portion of their success to "Big Dave" and his Hots Shots business.  Early 1997, Renate and I moved to Florida for our hot sauce adventure.  We started with two sauce products and basically no one to sell them to.  Until we met Dave Lutes, that is. Dave helped us out with advice, and more importantly, he picked up our products and got us started, allowing us to develop and add more sauces, which he sold. When we started our retail hot shop on the St. Petersburg Pier, he also became a trusted supplier, and it stayed that way when we took our "hot" business to Germany in early 2001, until the very present. While traveling the U.S. last week, we had a chance to briefly talk to Dave. He was already very weak, yet the first thing he said to us was "thank you for the order" (which we placed had a week before). He tried to stay on top of things until the very end.  We met Dave almost every year  at the Fiery Food Show, and besides business, we always had a good time with him. His generosity and great sense of humor will be missed.  It is somewhat ironic that Dave was always very lucky when playing blackjack, and now life has handed him such a bad hand of cards.



For those of you who missed it, here is a link to "Extreme Conventions" that ran on the Travel Channel, as posted on You Tube by a fan, not by us.  It's great publicity and I really appreciate it, but it only portrays the superhot component of the show, which in reality is a very, very small part of the show, which focuses on gourmet spicy products that won't burn you out.  My niece Emily complained that I was not given enough coverage, and my 21-minute interview was cut to 8 seconds, but hey, the program was not about me, as I'm not particularly extreme.  At left are the "German Chilli Police" with the folks from CaJohn's Fiery Foods.


Harald Zoschke reports from Deutschland:  "Wow, whatta show.  Hard to believe it was already the twenty-first one! It still felt fresh and unique. The fun part is, besides all the interesting new products, the diversity of people you meet there, all united by the mighty pepper. Take Ralf, Klaus, and Uwe, for example. For these Germans who own a restaurant and a hot sauce factory, it was their first time at the Fiery-Foods & BBQ Show. The trio dressed up as 'German Chili Police,' complete with 'To Protect the Chilis' badges. They even made Cajohn their deputy--here they pose with John and Sue Hard. More soon in my upcoming 2009 show report, as soon as we're caught up here...."


In this pic from Pace Foods, crowds pour into the show, overwhelming the Pace booth at the very entrance.  Chris, at lower right, of the Pace test kitchens, looks unfazed at the onslaught of hot-stuff-craving fans.  See Pace's photo coverage of the show, here.  Rosa Linda Roman, who produces the NewMexicast web broadcasting site, did a great job covering the show, including an interview with me, and you can watch it here.  Here's a Pace shot of me interviewing Rick Browne of PBS's "Barbecue America" at the Great Grill-Off, with Gwyneth Doland to his right.  Boy, was that show fun, or what!


At the Great Grill-Off at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, Barb and Bill Milroy (at left) plus Chip Hearn of peppers.com edged the Barbecue America team of Rick Browne and Gwyneth Doland 2-1 in three days of competition.  I was the host along with Erica Viking of 94-Rock.  It was great fun as the teams competed with grilling salmon on day one (TRR won), coarsely ground chuck on day two (BA won) and whole chickens on day three (TRR won).  The video tape, shot by Production Outfitters of Albuquerque, will be edited and shown on Rick's TV program, "Barbecue America," on PBS sometime later in the year. Gwyneth is writing a story about the entire experience, to be published soon on the SuperSite.





Rick and Gwyn of the "Barbecue America"  team.










On the set with Erica, Gwyn, Rick, and me.                       


New TV Spot for Show

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

--Watch the latest video masterpiece from Wayne Scheiner & Co. here.
--Check out the Great Grill-Off at the show here.


More than 16,000 buyers jammed San Francisco's Moscone Center in mid-January to taste new food products from all over the U.S. and three dozen nations around the world at the Fancy Food Show.  "Despite near-historic economic challenges, our industry is showing resilience," noted Ann Daw, president of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, the show's owner. "Consumers are eating at home more, and they are purchasing specialty items to liven up their meals."
The sold-out National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show supports Daw's theory and from my observations, business is still strong in our sector. Harald Zoschke, owner of Germany's largest online hot shop, Pepperworld.com, agrees, and notes: "January 2009 orders are up 50% from 2008 at the Pepperworld Hot Shop."
One of the more interesting displays at the Fancy Food Show continued the competition of who has the hottest hot sauce.  Dave's Gourmet introduced "Ghost Pepper" Jolokia Private Reserve, which Dave Hirschkop is calling the



world's hottest sauce. It's hand signed by Dave, numbered, vintage dated, and laid to rest in a wooden coffin wrapped in caution tape. A 5-ounce bottles are available for $35 each.


Blair Lazar, of Blair's Sauces and Snacks, begs to differ and points out that he was first with a Jolokia Pure Death Sauce. The battle rages on.

At left is a mockup of what will be the Show Program that will be distributed at the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, Feb.27-Mar. 1, 2009.  It will have Exhibitor Listings and Scovie Winners inside, as well as enhanced listings and display advertising.  We have posted a page on the SuperSite that has:

--SuperSite Banner Advertising Rates

--Show Program Display Advertising Rates and Sizes

--Enhanced Listings Rates and Sizes

Access the Advertising Rates here.

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