Meet A Local | Andrew H. Garrett
The origins of NW Elixirs took shape as Andrew traveled the world, finding himself exposed to different cultures and cuisines across the globe.
NW Elixirs doesn't just make sauces and their passion goes beyond food. Striving for pure creativity, the company aims to inspire. Viewing food as the main connector between all mankind, NW Elixirs crafts their sauces with only the highest-quality natural ingredients. Their unique blends of common and exotic foods enhance everyday, home-cooked meals into culinary adventures - something here we at The FareTrade are always striving to accomplish.
NW Elixirs Hott Sauce Co.
Artisan: Andrew H. Garrett
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
Working in some of the best restaurants in Northern California, I saw that there were very few options for a great hot sauce that didn’t over power food. So I started playing with the idea that I could make a hot sauce that actually complements food. Something with character and body. So I went back to school and started a faux company to do research and other business related projects for. Well; I had such an outcry for the sauce that I decided to make it a real company. And here we are today.
Tell us about your products.
NW Elixirs Hott Sauces go well beyond your typical hot sauce. I choose not to use ingredients like refined sugar, gums, or extracts specifically so that you could use these sauces in cooking. When you apply heat to these sauces they actually get better, they don’t stick or burn. They just get richer and deeper in flavor. My sauces are made for people who love good food, and want use the best possible ingredients.
What Does “Artisan” Mean To You?
To me being an artisan is about being creative, passionate, and aware. Artisans are people whobelieve in what they are creating, they take time to create products with heart and soul.
What is your favorite artisanal treat?
What Drew You To Food?
I grew up on a small fruit farm in Northern California, my father was an amazing home cook and we used to do a lot of hunting and fishing. No matter what it was we were eating we always had our hands in it one way or another. I just grew up with a huge respect for where our ingredients came from.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Again my father. However my mom was extremely supportive of my desire to cook at home; she bought me tons of great cookbooks and in those books, by Keller, Escoffier, and White I found immense inspiration for all types of cuisines.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
I am the Executive Chef for a company called Dick’s Kitchen here in Portland and we are working on a new Burger inspired hot sauce.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
My favorite will always be my #1 Hott Sauce, it was my first and the product that got my mind moving in the right direction.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
I’m super-hot on Aleppo Peppers from Turkey. They have an amazing robust flavor, super fruity aroma, and a heat that is comparable to that of a Thai chili. They are really cool peppers to work with.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
I roasted a whole chicken, rubbed it with NW Elixirs #2 Verde Hott then wrapped in bacon from a local producer here in Oregon. I put some Brussels sprouts tossed in my #1 Hott Sauce and Walla Walla sweet onions in the bottom of the pan as well. It was delicious!!
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Tried Your Product?
I would love for my grandmother to have tasted my product. She loved spicy and always gave me the encouragement to work hard and chase my dreams. To be able to show her in person the products I have created, would be amazing for me.
What’s The Best Piece of Advice You’ve Gotten in Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other Artisans?
Don’t quit, when you think that you can’t fill orders, you don’t have the staff, the capital isn’t available, and you’re just catching a break; make one more batch, make one more phone call. Don’t quit; you never know where you’ll find what you’re looking for. Chase your dreams as far as they can run, you will catch them.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Man… Where do I start? Portland is such a cool city to be working in food.
Chef Gregory Gordet; he has always given me sound advice and encouragement, plus the dude knows how to cook. Gregory helped me to create my #4 Bangkok Hott, he was always willing to taste test my products. And with his pallet he helped me to refine my sauces.
Aaron Barnett; at restaurant St. Jack, Aaron allowed me to dive deeper into traditional French cuisine. His knowledge and personality really have influenced me to be a better leader and really take the time to execute recipes correctly.
Ben Jacobsen; I was there the first day Ben brought salt water from the Oregon Coast to evaporate and create Oregon’s first sea salt. I have been fortunate enough to watch him grow beyond his wildest dreams, only to create new goals to surpass. His integrity and drive inspire me to keep growing as fast as I can without compromising the quality of my products.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
I would want to eat; a 36 oz. Dry aged Carmen Ranch Grass Fed Beef Rib Eye. With a baked Idaho potato and compound butter.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
My favorite restaurant is St. Jack here in Portland, Oregon. The food is always good and my experiences have always been the best.
What’s Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I love playing rugby, hiking, camping, and any kind of travel. I love adventure.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
For me it’s all about Classic Jazz, the upbeat nature makes for a rhythmic feeling flowing through the kitchen. But then some days you need some Ozzy or AC/DC.