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Tasting The Heat: The Spicy Interview With Kendall Stadler

Welcome to a brand-new interview! For this one, we are boarding the spice train and chatting with vocalist and hot sauce reviewer Kendall of Tasting The Heat. We wrote about Kendall and his wife, Tracy, in early 2022 and explored the unique and fascinating story behind Tasting The Heat. (You can read that article here.) 

Join us as we chat with Kendall about his music career, signature brand of hot sauce, and more spicy questions! Get your cooling relief ready. It's about to get extra spicy! 


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FCN: Let's start from the beginning of your music career. You were the vocalist for popular rock band Herazz in the 1980s and 1990s, except for a few albums. 

How did you get started in music, and what led to the formation of Herazz?

Kendall: It all started when I was singing in the church choir and getting all the lead roles. I really didn’t think anything of it. I thought everybody could sing, but then it continued to escalate to me getting lead roles of singing in the choir at church and school and then the introduction of heavy music into my lifestyle.

After playing in several local bands, I moved to New York to join a band called MANIX. After shopping around several different record companies, we had our foot in the door of a few, and then drugs took over a few of the members, and it all fell apart. I was lucky I never got into drugs.

I moved back to Michigan and found the band Herazz. They were looking for a lead singer. I wanted to join the band and help make it into a recording sensation. You can see a live show from Detroit on the Tasting The Heat YouTube channel.



FCN: What album and songs from your time in Herazz have had the greatest impact on you? 

Kendall: There are several different songs that really have a lot of good meaning to me. The song Dealers in the Night off the first album was a really good indication of what was going on in the clubs at that time. The next song was Dreams in My Eyes. It definitely explains what I was going through in my life at that time. The last album, Living for the Night, is all about stuff that was happening with the band and seeing what was going on around us. It’s just a fun and happy song that kind of explains the times that we are in. All three CDs are on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and more. 




FCN: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

Kendall: It all started with Elton John, believe it or not. Then it was Alice Cooper, and then all the heavies, including Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy, Kiss, AC/DC, etc. 

FCN: What was the first hot sauce or spicy food you tried? What ignited your interest in trying more?

Kendall: It’s all my dad's fault. Just kidding, but he did get me started, and eating spicy foods as a young child, he would buy the pickled cauliflower banana peppers in a jar, and I would just eat them like crazy. That’s actually where I began loving pepperoncini peppers.

FCN: Following your music career, you eventually launched Tasting The Heat in 2015 alongside your wife, Tracy.

Where did the idea for Tasting The Heat originate? Why did you both decide to launch it?

Kendall: It all started as we were walking on the beach in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and Tracy said you should start a website about hot sauces because you love them so much, and so it began. After kicking around a few ideas for the name, Tracy actually came up with Tasting The Heat.


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FCN: You released your signature brand of hot sauce, Dill-licious, a few years ago. What planning went into releasing your brand of hot sauce? How has the reception been for it?

Kendall: I was helping Kevin Mackey from Angry Irishman at a hot sauce expo in Chicago where he was selling their hot sauces, and I told him about my idea for a dill pickle hot sauce because I had never seen one from all the brands that I have tried and reviewed.

So, I wanted to come out with something original that no one else has done. Kevin liked the idea, and I told him what I wanted in it, and he put it together, and that’s how it came out.

DILL-LICIOUS was the original dill pickle hot sauce, and now everybody seems to have one. It all started with my idea. I guess copying is a form of flattery or a form of no imagination on their part.

FCN: In 2019, you won the Global Hot Sauce Awards Reviewer of the Year and Carl Wallbank Community Spirit Award, which took place in Australia. 

Can you describe how you felt when you were declared the winner of these awards and what they meant to you?

Kendall: I was completely blown away, and I had no idea I was even in the running for this. I got a call from Australia telling me I won not only one award but both of them. I was extremely flattered and honored to accept the awards, and unfortunately, because of COVID, it will never be done again. So, does that mean I am the reigning champion? Just kidding.

FCN: On October 24th, 2021, you uploaded a video where you took on the CaJohns "Trouble Bubble" challenge, which clocks in at 16 million Scoville Heat Units. 

What led you to try this outrageously hot bubble gum? Did you regret it afterward? 

Kendall: I thought: "Yeah, I can handle this stupid idea." Just kidding, man, that thing is so ungodly hot. 

Did I regret it? Absolutely, because I got the capsaicin dust in my eyes. It hurt so bad. You can see that video on my YouTube channel



FCN: Tracy also plays a major role in Tasting The Heat, whether it's spicy food preparation, promotional efforts, or even trying some of the hottest food imaginable. 

How has helping with Tasting The Heat impacted her view on hot sauces/spicy foods?

Kendall: She thinks I’m crazy. She can’t understand how someone can eat food that hurts, but as all chili heads know, it’s just what we crave.

FCN: Has your tolerance for spicy foods increased after almost a decade of Tasting The Heat?

Kendall: It has increased a lot, but lately, my life has been in such turmoil with personal family problems. I have not been able to keep up with eating and reviewing spicy foods. I regret having to take a step back at this time, but family does come first, and I will get back into it. 

One thing I have to say about when somebody uses their platform to hurt another person or another company is that I just feel it’s a low blow, and it’s beneath anybody with any credibility. I’ve seen that happen lately in this food industry, and it saddens me to think that people would hurt others just to get clicks on their social media. People know and see it, and I just think it’s wrong. I have never tried to ride on anybody’s coat or use someone else to put me in a better situation on social media. I feel that if you can’t stand on your own merit, then you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. I hate it when people copy or hurt me just like they should not like it when anyone would hurt or copy them, and that’s why I won’t do it. That’s all I’ll say about this at this time.


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