Picking peppers

Appears in the August 2021 issue.

Chef David Heatley had no intention of becoming the Peter Piper of the west suburbs—that was COVID 19’s doing. Furloughed from his job as executive chef at a golf course, Heatley needed a hobby—so he planted peppers around his Montgomery home and that’s how the fairy tale started.

“I turned around one day,” says Heatley, “and found I had 80 pounds of peppers.” Leaning on his skills, Heatley stewed them into refined sauces. Fresno pepper-mango barbecue, bourbon-pepper steak sauce, and “hot” sauces of every hue.

Now, his peppers are growing faster than Jack’s infamous beanstalk, and he’s heading to farmers’ markets—Oswego, St. Charles, Batavia—to share his bounty. Try his spicy Irish mustard sauce at Naperville Irish Fest, August 6–7.

Photo courtesy David Heatley