A friendship and a partnership began nearly 30 years ago between Marie Sharp and Winston-Salem businessman Michael Touby in Belize.
“I consider Marie to be like a grandmother,” Touby said, speaking from the Specialty Food Association Food Show in New York, where he reconnected with Sharp a few short years ago.
“Everyone should experience this sauce. It’s a stable product and has been this way since the beginning,” says Sonia Schilling, the Director of Operations for Marie Sharp’s USA.
Local restaurants and markets stock bottles as well as use the sauce in recipes. Curtis Hackaday, chef de cuisine at 1703 Restaurant in Winston-Salem, swears by the sauces.
“The smoked habanero got me in the door,” Hackaday says, “and the variety got me to stay. I go back and forth between flavors.”
The Marie Sharp’s line and all of the Maya Mike Belizean Barbacoa sauces are the house hot sauce of choice at the restaurant.
“We offer the fruit-wood smoked habanero. The mango habanero, green habanero, all the barbacoas and the sweet habanero to guests if they ask for hot sauce.”
Characterized as “fine dining with a modern twist,” Hackaday has created dishes such as a Southern-fried airline chicken breast served over Parmesan risotto, garnished with a smoked-habanero pickled watermelon rind emulsion, alongside a small plate of deviled eggs garnished with a Central American inspired curtido, similar to a fermented cabbage slaw, and the smoked habanero sauce. The creativity of Hackaday knows no bounds, nor does the availability of the sauces in the area.
In addition to the line of habanero hot sauces and the barbacoa sauces, Marie Sharp’s brand is growing and excelling in the US market.
Looking to the future, Touby reveals a piece of his plan: “We are launching a new line of tropical jams and jellies, and we have a new superfood salsa coming out at the beginning of next year.”