Traydor Hot Sauces are Named After Literature and History’s Famous TraitorsApril 29, 2017
Toogy and Laveena Clavecilla, together with friend JC Medina, admit to being book and trivia nerds (“I am a plethora of useless knowledge,” Toogy jokes), so it is no wonder that when they came up with a line of hot sauces, the flavors are named after some of literature and history’s best known figures—more specifically, traitors, as the hot sauce is called Traydor. He describes his wife, Laveena, as the glue of the group, while their partner Medina, is described as the one who keeps them all in a straight line. While Toogy himself, who studied abroad in CIA, formulated the four hot sauce recipes that comprise the Traydor lineup: Judas (tomato garlic), Damaso (mango-rum), Brutus (green apples and coconut), and Mata Hari (hot honey).
It started off, as many great ideas do, as a decision made in a haze over drinks with close friends, but the ball picked up quickly and they soon found that it was something they enjoyed working on together. Though it took some time with R&D, as they all had day jobs at the time (now Toogy and Laveena are mainly focused on their hot sauce business, while Medina is in the tech industry in New York), they developed three of the red sauces within a year and a half and just for fun, entered them into the very first Chilli Festival in 2014 run by a local group called Chilliheads Philippines, where they won awards for their concoctions and realized the potential of their brand to grow.
We want to keep the decibel level of the spice high. But there’s a difference between having spice with flavor, and we [want to create that balance].”
For the roasted tomato and garlic flavor, named after the Biblical traitor, Toogy tells us they named a classic flavor after a classic traitor. The Damaso (pair with anything grilled, Toogy tells us) came about by their desire to use local rum in a hot sauce; paired with the world-famous taste of Philippine mangoes, it was fitting to name this sauce after the most famous villain in Filipino literature. Mata Hari is both spicy and sweet, traits that they felt described the seductive double agent in history for whom it is named after. As for Brutus (best paired with deep-fried pork, he suggests), Toogy says, “We came out with Brutus because at the time we were reading Julius Caesar, so [we decided to] call the hot sauce Brutus.”
One of the most important aspects of their product innovation is that the hot sauces are centered on our local sili. “In terms of ingredients,” Toogy explains, “we use 100% native labuyo. That’s why we keep ourselves small batch, because we find it increasingly hard to find native labuyo. [As much as possible,] we don’t use anything imported. We want to be truly Filipino.” But their brand commitment goes beyond using local, Toogy continues. “It’s a commitment to fresh ingredients. We want to deliver quality and flavor, and educate people that it’s not just about heat. It’s about being able to have a flavor profile also.” They are currently working on new hot sauces using locally grown Habañero.
The spectrum of tastes in their hot sauces is wide enough to suit any number of combinations. Toogy tells us that his friend puts the Mata Hari in a cocktail, but in general it goes well with cheese, and Toogy specifically prefers it on top of a Manager’s Choice Shakey’s Pizza. They’ve also found it works on a lemon cheesecake. They’ve tried the other hot sauces on balut. But with hot sauce, especially such a wide and versatile variety, the sky is the limit and delicious combinations are yours for the tasting.
TRAYDOR HOT SAUCE
Traydor Hot Sauce is a brand of local hot sauce a variety of flavors with native labuyo as the spice base.