Running a hot sauce business, we've tasted hundreds of hot sauces over the years, we've seen it all, or so you'd think. But every now and then, we stumble across a new hot sauce that is truly unique in its taste profile.
Stank Hot Sauce from Ol Yella's is one of those that stand out with flavours that remind you of Asian cuisine but you can't quite put your finger on what makes it unique.
Ol Yella's launched mid-2018 in Western Australia by Lynne Loo and is already making a name for itself. Lynne has been kind enough to answer some of our questions below.
Tell us a bit about your story, your company and how you started. Was there a specific turning point in your life where you realised that the world can no longer do without your sauces?
As a child of migrant parents to Australia, I was incredibly lucky to grow up with exposure to a huge array of ethnic cultures and food - Singaporean (where we're from)/Malaysian, Italian, Modern Australian, Japanese, American, Chinese, Turkish, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai etc. - you name it, we ate it gladly!
We were brought up to appreciate food, especially spicy food, and always to be adventurous with it. It was a total loss of face within the family if you turned something down without trying it! This has been a huge influence on the conception of Stank Sauce - a distinctly Asian blend of flavours that actually works surprisingly well across a range of cuisines.
I noticed, about a year ago, that there were only a few distinct hot sauce flavour profiles dominating the market, but nothing like Stank was on offer. Then came the perfect storm of fun branding, landing my ideal packaging and people lapping up the flavour and 'just right' heat of Stank!
Do you have a philosophy, a mission statement or core values that you would like to share with us?
Versatility, value, integrity and fun!
These are the four concepts that inform every business decision, every interaction and every product we put out to customers.
I love products that are versatile and also want the business to be versatile in what it does. I believe versatility and integrity of work/product creates value for our customers and retailers. Not only that, but I really value customers and their feedback; this has played a significant role in product development and customer interaction.
Most importantly, and most self-explanatory, is that I want to have fun doing this; and to spread joy to people with the products and brand. (I've done enough mundane work to last me a lifetime!)
Do you grow your own chillies and other ingredients or source them from local providers?
Our chillies are sourced from WA growers and the limes are 100% Australian.
Tell us more about your range of sauces.
Our flagship product, Stank Sauce, has two heat intensities (Hot and Extra Hot) of the same flavour profile. Chillies used are Thai Birds Eyes.
There are plenty of chilli products on the market. Is there something special that sets your sauce apart?
Whether you pair Stank with barbecued meats, seafood, a curry or stir fry, your Aussie meat pie, pasta, or even guacamole... it just works!
Stank really works FOR the dish rather than overpower it (as the taste of Sriracha often can, for example). Just a teaspoon of Stank can lend a magic depth of flavour and the perfect warmth to whatever you're cooking or dipping with.
Sure, it's not the hottest sauce out there, but that was never my goal. For me, it was about hitting the perfect balance of heat and flavour.
Everyone has their staple pair of jeans; the ever-trusty pair of worn-in PJ shorts. Well, my repeat customers tell me that Stank is basically that for them. They fall back on this sauce for everything and love it - the only difference is, unlike those treasured PJ shorts, this is a good kinda stank your better half won't mind around the house.
We’d love to hear your recommendation on where and how to use your sauces – are there specific dishes to which your sauces are best suited? Can they be used during cooking and used as a dressing over say, a salad?
SO MANY USES! We are still experimenting, discovering and being told of more recommended uses, but this is a brief list so far of old faithfuls:
- As a dipping condiment for steaks, grilled meats and fish, crabs/lobster/crays/prawns, tofu, sausages
- Fried up with crumbed/lightly floured whitebait, shallots, coriander and spritz of extra lime juice
- Anything stir-fried
- Slathered on meat pies and sausage rolls
- Grilled cheese toasties (add avo, chicken, tomato and spinach)
- As a chicken or pork marinade with ginger, garlic, soy, oyster sauce, and sugar or honey
- Curries, stews, chilli con carne
- Chilli mussels
- Passata (especially spaghetti bolognese)
Which of your sauces is your personal favourite? What about a personal favourite from another brand?
I personally love the Hot heat intensity of Stank. I do feel the pressure to say 'Extra Hot!' but sometimes all you want is a chill night with just enough warmth to light up the tastebuds.
Personal favourite from another brand would have to be McIlhenny's Chipotle Tabasco, hands down. For almost a year (a few years ago now) I was eating this on literally EVERYTHING, short of muesli and dessert. I was super addicted to the balance of flavours and since then anything else 'chipotle' has never hit the spot for me.
Are you also a chilli lover? What’s the hottest chilli you’ve ever tried and how did you look by the end of it?
I do love chillies, but am not a superhot seeker... I just don't buy into the macho-ness of it! I've had a segment of a ghost pepper. I remember saying 'Ahhhhh' for a long time - no idea what I looked like, but very likely stupid and sweaty!
Thanks again Lynne!
If you'd like to purchase some of her products you may do so here.
And as always, enjoy the burn!