How A Trip To Brazil Led To America's Hot Honey Trend

Hot honey is just about the best thing since, well, regular honey. And no one can deny that Mike Kurtz's brand, Mike's Hot Honey, took the food world by storm. But how did it come to be?

It all started with a trip to Brazil, where Kurtz was studying abroad. While visiting a pizzeria, he encountered jars of chili-infused honey. The combination of a slice of pizza and spicy honey was tantalizing and a major jumping-off point for Kurtz. Inspired, he returned to the States and got to work meticulously formulating his own special spicy honey recipe. The distinctive condiment quickly became a hit at the Brooklyn pizzeria where he worked. This overwhelming popularity led Kurtz to bottle and sell his own hot honey to customers. From there, Mike's Hot Honey grew rapidly, gaining widespread attention from media outlets and finding its place in both home and commercial kitchens worldwide.

The rise of Mike's Hot Honey in the culinary world

The journey of Mike's Hot Honey from Paulie Gee's pizzeria in Brooklyn to becoming a nationally recognized product is remarkable. As its fame grew, Kurtz achieved numerous milestones, including winning an award for the design of Mike's Hot Honey packaging, opening Mike's Hot Honey Fried Chicken in Madison Square Garden, partnering with restaurants across the country, and launching an extra hot version of his famous honey.

Kurtz has also partnered with Maille to create a hot honey mustard, Austin Eastciders to make Mike's Hot Honey cider, and Utz to make sweet and spicy potato chips. The brand has quickly become a household name and with good reason. The distinct sweet and spicy flavor profile of Mike's Hot Honey can be used creatively across a wide array of dishes, from adding a kick to cheesy quesadillas to even a spicy honey drizzle on ice cream. Mike's Hot Honey didn't just introduce a new condiment; it revolutionized how people think about pairing flavors.

Kurtz's vision transformed a simple idea into a culinary staple, demonstrating the power of innovation in the food industry. Its journey reflects not only a personal success story but also a broader trend of embracing bold and creative flavor combinations.