paula from river city flame story

Paula Horne of River City Flame on bringing her favorite flavor from Hong Kong back to the US


• Craft Hot Sauce Podcast •

Paula Horne is the owner of River City Flame, a craft hot sauce company in Richmond, Virginia. Paula shares how her travels led her to try to emulate that perfect tasting sauce that came to love while living in Hong Kong. River City Flame is a black owned and women owned company that remains local in the Virginia area.

You can learn more about River City Flame by visiting their website:

Featured music is by Twisted Pine and their newest release “Right Now”. On August 14th, 2020 they are releasing their newest album. Find out more and listen to Twisted Pine at

River City Flame Story

Paula on getting started in hot sauce:

While living in Asia I frequented numerous restaurants that had a delicious condiment on the table. After becoming a regular in a few of them, I became friends with the chefs who gave me the recipe for the sauce. Each sauce had different ingredients but similar flavors. When I came back to live in the US, I decided to see if I could replicate the sauce.


After years of growing my own peppers, sourcing the right American ingredients, and numerous trial and errors, I finally found the right combination. I made my first batch in 2004 and it’s been a hit with friends and family. I make it in small batches each year and I’ve been told that I should market it. I decided to do that in 2016. 


I have two sizes of sauce (4oz and 8oz) and am about to launch a new product “chilli salt” to complement my sauce. The salt will be 3 oz or 4 oz (TBD). While I wait for a Process Authority letter and other FDA requirements, I’m processing the sauce at home. Once I meet the FDA requirements, I’ll have the sauce manufactured by a co-packer in VA Beach, VA.


A fun fact about chilli peppers:  “Back in 1987, during the pro football game between Denver “Broncos” and San Diego “Chargers”, it was rumored that the blizzard conditions were so severe the players sprinkled cayenne pepper in their socks. It burned their feet so bad that they couldn’t feel the numbing cold.” I don’t know how much of this is true, but Denver won!

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