A winter chilli festival is coming to Fremantle. Presented by The Sunshine Harvester Works and local not-for-profit group WA Chilli Seed Exchange, Harvest the Heat will bring together chefs and chilli sauce and product makers. Fresh chillies from Carnarvon will also be for sale.
One of the makers attending will be Leigh Nash of Dingo Sauce Co, a project that began while Nash was head chef at Cottesloe institution Vans. Today, Dingo sauces are a familiar sight at local markets and gourmet delis and cafes around the country. The brand’s 13 flavours span the heat scale from sweet chilli and Sriracha to “Widow Maker”: a brutal sauce made using six of the planet’s hottest chilli varieties.
A guest chef at the recent Gascoyne Food Festival in Carnarvon, Nash used the visit as an opportunity to visit some of the farmers who grow his chillies.
“I was growing my own chillies and outgrew what I could supply myself,” says Nash, who runs Dingo with wife Ailbhe Travers. “Trying to find people with different kinds of scorpions and ghosts in the quantity I needed to keep going through the different seasons was really hard. That was how I started on a quest to find farmers that I could build a relationship with.”
Nash has expanded his operation with the launch of Dingo Dining, a pop-up that will operate at pop-ups and events. He’s already commenced cooking at The Sunshine Harvester Works alongside Brendan Pang’s Bumplings and holds monthly long-table dinners showcasing his take on Asian cuisine.
“For me the journey is only just beginning,” says Nash. “I still want to cook, I just want to do it my way now. I want to be able to do the food that I love eating, which is Asian-style street food.”
Other food vendors joining Nash and Bumplings on the day include Ray’s Satay, Stampede Gelato and Marguerite Cakes. Bread from North Street Store will also be on sale, as will sauces and condiments from local imprints Dr Paul’s, Billy’s Bounty, Mocojambe, Wildfire, All Burn, Hellfire Bay, Latasha’s Kitchen, Krunchilli, Rhino Jerky and Sykotic Chillies.
A chilli-eating contest, naturally, will be held on the day for those brave – or foolish – enough to participate.
“You can’t have one of these events without watching a bunch of people trying to eat super-hot pods and blowing their heads off,” says Nash.