By Kevin Meek
How did a cooking competition, some lifelong friendships, a slight pirate obsession, and a four-month furlough create the perfect storm to launch a culinary startup?
The Spice Dog Provisions origin story began as a competition between former Four Seasons Hotel Chicago chefs, including Zac Rogers, who concocted homemade hot sauces in their basements. By 2016 Rogers was working as the executive chef at Naperville’s Elements at Water Street. And then in 2020, while most furloughed chefs cautiously negotiated turbulent times, Rogers and his crew, Mitchell Bauer, and Walker Curran-Fahy, were concepting Treasure Chest—a collection of four small-batch hot sauces—which they launched at a recent event at SixtyFour Wine Bar & Kitchen.
Now this Naperville-based company hopes to reinvent how we cook and season everything, with sauces like the citrus-based Cure for Scurvy, or Ghost Ship, which is heavy on the heat.
“We don’t use binders or preservatives, and wanted ingredients we could pronounce, pull from a garden, and put in a pot,” Rogers explains. The Spice Dog crew plans on releasing up to 20 new sauces this summer, and you can find these treasures at spicedogprovisions.com, Sixty-Four Wine Bar & Kitchen, or through future subscriptions, barbecue competitions, and other local stores.
Photo by M.C. Photography