Thanks to the success of the cult YouTube show Hot Ones, I voluntarily decided to set my mouth on fire for a chance to feel like a celebrity last week in a vegan hot wings challenge.
Having managed to now soothe my mouth with ice and plenty of cold liquids, I can now tell you all about my volcanic experience – and how I loved it.
Hot Ones is an internet sensation and sees celebrities being interviewed as they take on a range of sauces going up in heat as they progress.
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Celebrities who have braved the show include James Corden, Seth Rogan, Dave Grohl, and even Harry Kane has taken on the heat.
Just like the show, the great people at the Chili-Shop Leeds and restaurant Cult Wings let you try out 10 sauces, all of which have been featured on Hot Ones.
Frank Jay, owner of the Chili-Shop Leeds, is the brainchild of the event to allow people to go through what the celebrities do on the show.
At his West Yorkshire-based shop, he even has a huge wall dedicated to the Hot Ones sauces but many are from the US, meaning they can be a little expensive.
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So to provide Hot Ones fans with an affordable way to try 10 of them, he runs the challenge every month for £20 and the last event was a complete sell-out.
Also lucky for my animal-caring self, you have the options of vegan cauliflower wings as well as Chicken (all the sauces are vegan friendly).
My photography skills of capturing food are not the best but my word were these vegan cauliflower wings from Cult Wing.
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On the evening, Frank was hosting the event himself, giving both great knowledge about the sauces and the show, with a little bit of cheeky humour thrown in, before letting you taste the heat for yourself.
Now onto the challenge itself, now I am not going to lie but I was a little worried doing this not being a massive hot sauce like some of those I met.
This especially changed when a fellow competitor told me he had been eating Carolina Reapers, the world's hottest pepper, in preparation for the event.
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Whereas I decided to go for the hot option of Katsu sauce in my Wagamama Vegatsu a few days before.
However, I thought I started off with no problem as the first three being so full of flavour, I didn't really notice the heat at all.
Although my face must have been saying something different as at about round four I was handed the fan.
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The fan is placed each round on the person who they think won’t make it, which just spurred me on more.
Probably the first time I felt a rise in a kick was on round five and six as we went above 49,000 scovilles – but this was still nothing this Yorkhsireman could not handle.
But then we got to number eight and had to glove up, and now I was quite scared as you have no idea what level of scoville you are trying until minutes before.
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Da Bomb Beyond Insanity was my first taste of pure heat and despite not being the strongest in terms of scovilles, it tastes like pure fire.
For the first time that night, I am guzzling on a cold drink like nobody's business.
Before I could really settle, I was onto the next one and this was well over triple the number eight was.
Puckerbutt Unique Garlique, created by Carolina Reaper inventor Ed Currie, is 642,000 Scovilles and not even Frank knew what it tasted like as it was opened on this very evening for the first time in Europe.
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Although the heat was intense, I could not tell if it was that or the effects of Da Bomb still lingering in my mouth. My mouth was like a volcano.
It was at this point I had to make a quick trip to the bar to replenish my glass before we had to the big one.
The Last Dab Apollo is the final opponent for the evening and I was determined to go through it till the end – even if the final hurdle is over 2m scoviles.
As we have video evidence, this hit me instantly and if smoke could have come out my ears, I think it would have.
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Even more crazy is the lad sat at the table next to me, he did the whole thing without a drink…mad – and to celebrate one contestant is even getting a chili tattoo.
But we made, not in the most successful way with my mouth full of ice, in the end.
Despite all this, I still had lots of fun as the challenge is hot as hell, the event is really lively, friendly and the tables all mix in with the conversation.
Big thanks to Frank at Chili-Shop Leeds and Cult Wing for a great night…might come again for another 10.
You can follow the Chili-Shop Leeds on Facebook and on Instagram – @thechillishop.
Check out the restaurant Cult Wing via their website and on Facebook.
All ten sauces I successfully got through on the night:
1/ The Classic Maple – Scovilles: 1,800
2/ Hippy Dippy Green – Scovilles: 2,300
3/ Piko Riko – Scovilles: 15,500
4/ Goat Rider – Scovilles: 43,500
5/ Los Caliantes – Scovilles: 49,000
6/ Torchbearer Mushroom Mayhem – Scovilles: 68,000
7/ Karma Cosmic Disco – Scovilles: 103,000
8/ Da Bomb Beyond Insanity – Scovilles: 135,600
9/ Puckerbutt Unique Garlique – Scovilles: 642,000
10/ The Last Dab Apollo- Scovilles: 2m+
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