Some like it hot: Local chef acknowledged again for his Raptor Hot Sauce

Michael Connolly, chef and owner of Red Canyon Spice, recently took an additional prestigious national award for his already award-winning Raptor Hot Sauce.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Michael Connolly, chef and owner of Red Canyon Spice — the company that produces a variety of hot sauces, spices and ketchups — recently took an additional prestigious national award for his already award-winning hot sauce. As a result of these five awards, Connolly has been invited to a championship event in April in Tabasco land of New Iberia, Louisiana.

The fifth award for Red Canyon’s Original Raptor Hot Sauce is a first place Golden Chile award from the 2014 National Fiery Foods Challenge at ZestFest in Dallas. The original hot sauce received first place in the medium temperature hot sauce category. This is Red Canyons’ second gold award in this category at ZestFest, an event that brings together the spiciest of exhibitors and products from around the country for a sizzling weekend each year with more than 16,000 attendees. There were over 700 products entered in the 2014 challenge.

Health Benefits

“Chilis are gaining popularity and it’s fun to watch public interest grow. I also appreciate the broad range of health benefits hot chilis offer consumers,” Connolly said.

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Chili peppers contain an impressive list of disease preventing and health promoting properties. Chilies contain an alkaloid compound called capsaicin, which gives strong, spicy and pungent character. Studies suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties which is also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals. Chili peppers are also rich in vitamins C, A and B complex and contain good amounts of minerals such as potassium and iron.

Connolly has been cooking for more than 25 years around the country, including the Vail Valley at such places as Cordillera and Adams Rib Ranch Country Club. Red Canyon Spice products can be purchased at Lionshead General Store, Vail; Kitchen Collage, Edwards and Basalt; Riverwalk Wine and Spirits, Edwards; and Danny Cash Hot Shop in Lakewood, or online at

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