Retailer Spotlight – The Chilli Shop, Leeds

One of my favourite parts of running Khoo’s Hot Sauce is delivering to our wonderful cohort of retailers.
Long before I set up this business, one of my favourite things was finding interesting independent food shops and scouring their shelves for new and exciting gourmet ingredients to use in my cooking.

Fast forward 11 years and now I get to visit such shops on a weekly basis to deliver our sauce. I feel very priviliged to be able to spend so much time in these wonderful establishments, chatting to our retailers and seeing what’s new on their shelves.

That’s why we’re excited to share with you a new series of blog posts where we get to know our stockists better and showcase some of their unique stories.

In this first installment of our series, we’re excited to introduce you to The Chilli Shop, one of our favourite shops in Yorkshire. Located at The Merrion Centre in Leeds, The Chilli Shop is a treasure trove for chilli lovers, offering a diverse range of chilli sauces, marinades, spices, and snacks from all over the world.

1. Can you tell us your name and a bit about yourself?

Frank Jay – I make ideas happen, like when I instigated a bill through parliament to legalise busking on London Underground, went to Canada on my own aged 10 after winning a National challenge & meeting the queen… and now I own Chilli-Shop Ltd . I’m quarter Italian, vegetarian, my grandmother from Bologna and grandfather Frank former banqueting chief of the Savoy Hotel… so food in my blood.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about the history and background of your shop, and how you got started in the business?

I started the Fiery Food chilli festival in Brighton in 2004 then took on a regeneration project in Brighton Marina bringing events and taking over all the empty units to turn them into local run good for the community ideas, one I turned into a chilli shop to help keep all the producers going. Took the shop to Leeds about 7 years ago. 

3. What is the philosophy or mission behind your shop, and how do you go about selecting the products you stock?

The ethos is: support local. Pay small indie businesses fast. Look for innovation and eclectic best tastes in the world. Not see it as a shop, more of a customer experience 

4. Can you describe some of the unique or unusual products you carry, and what makes them special?

Products that come with a story… about the maker. Largest collection of Hot Ones featured sauces in Europe. The most unusual is probably chilli toothpaste. The one I’m most proud of is the caramelised garlic in hot olive oil, customers, bands, everyone addicted to it 

5. How have you seen the local community and customer base around your shop change over time, and how have you adapted to those changes?

Things have changed. From when I first opened ‘what’s your hottest’ questions … to now ‘what’s new?’ … students now are interested in cooking and customer’s more open to suggestions 

6. We love fiery food at Khoo’s Hot Sauce. How hot do you like it? Could you let us know you’re favourite spicy meal?

I’m a foodie hot, I still suffer trying everything I sell. Helps me grade heats. My favourite meal is fajitas with the Dirty Dicks No Name mole cocoa raw chocolate hot sauce. My favourite desert is apple crumble using Khoos golden syrup instead of sugar 

7. Have you noticed any trends in hot sauce and spicy food in general, and how do you think our products fit into that picture?

Trends are black garlic, truffle, ginger and cocoa raw chocolate. Khoos already innovate with Northern Beacon using listed chilles and sweet potato. Always crave a new release from Khoos, even if a limited edition 

8. If one of our readers from outside of your area was to make the journey to visit your shop, are there any other local attractions that you could recommend to make the perfect daytrip out of a visit to The Chilli Shop?

Yes we supply sauces to Neon Cactus taco bar which is next to the Corn Exchange (small indie shops) and the biggest indoor market in Europe.  Then a drink at The Belgrave Canteen & Music Hall. 




Khoo’s Hot Sauce – Inside The Chilli Shop Leeds