By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Filipino Phil is a big man with an equally big heart. His zest for life comes through loud and clear when your lips wrap around food dunked, blended or topped with any of his Filipino Phil’s Nuclear Chipotle Sauces. Bold and bright, these multi-purpose sauces are ready to add greater depth and flair to any meal. Maybe you’re already a fan. But did you know that Filipino Phil and his secret recipes live in Thurston County?
It’s hard to say where it all started, but let’s begin with Filipino Phil’s grandfather who emigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1928. He taught Phil to cook rice at the young age of three. Phil was a natural in the kitchen and became proficient at an early on, though he chose carpentry as his life’s trade. He acquired the nickname Filipino Phil as a youth, as well. It quickly solved the questions people asked about his ethnicity. The name stuck.
Moving ahead to 2010, Filipino Phil was having fish tacos for dinner and wanted something new to put on top. He was “bored in the kitchen” and whipped up what is now the original sauce – Nuclear Chipotle. Jelly jars were filled and given away to family and friends. The response was positive and many encouraged them to go into business. Though people kept wanting more and Filipino Phil liked the idea of creating new recipes, he was uninterested in turning his sauces into a business. He told his wife Michelle Meithof, that if she wanted to run the whole thing, he would do the recipes if she would do everything else. She agreed.
Michelle handles all aspects of the business, besides recipes, while also working full-time at Red Wind Casino. She enumerated the ways they used the various sauces at home: pizza sauce, baked with chicken, grilled with salmon, topping for burgers, squirted on sausage and crackers and mixed into pasta. Use Filipino Phil’s with your oysters or shrimp cocktails and even in your Bloody Mary. You could mix the sauce with sour cream for a lively vegetable dish, but Meithof said they are planning to come out with their own ranch dressing. The recipes are already complete.
Filipino Phil realized that having three sauces would work best for marketing purposes. The first one, Nuclear Chipotle, was thought by some tasters to be too hot. The recipe was changed and the temperature brought down and Sissy Sauce was born. Those who love heat thought that the original sauce was not hot enough. Then came Nuclear Meltdown. My taste buds are not sissies but were invigorated by the Sissy Sauce. You get to decide for yourself what intensity works best for you.
The first retail bottle appeared in October 2012. Already Filipino Phil’s sauces are award winners. The Nuclear Meltdown received a 2014 Scovie for Unique Wing Sauce and the Nuclear Chipotle for Condiments – Hot & Spicy.
To my delight, there is mustard, too. Though a bit resistant initially to developing his own recipe, Filipino Phil embraced the challenge and after numerous incarnations and a bevy of local tasters, Swawsome Mustard became product #4. The comical yellow label features a fiery hot dog with a ghost pepper travelling through it. My deviled eggs will never be the same. After trying the mustard (or my eggs) you’re going to want some more – because it’s awesome. Swawsome.
Recognize Filipino Phil’s Nuclear Chipotle Sauces by their colorful labels and characteristic peace sign. They were designed by Filipino Phil with the help of a label maker. All recipes and labels are owned by the business. You can find Filipino Phil’s Nuclear Chipotle Sauces at both Stormans grocery stores, Bayview and Ralph’s. They make great additions to your pantry – and a great gift. All their products are gluten free.
The unique combination of cucumbers, peppers and spices provides a sauce that is meant to be hot but to still have the flavor of the food come through. “We don’t want to kill the taste of the food,” assures Meithof and we are “very particular about the product.” What’s coming up? Filipino Phil told me that the recipes for their dry rubs are all finished. Keep watching for them.
A full dose of Filipino Phil’s Nuclear Chipotle Meltdown Sauce may not be for the faint of heart (or mouth), but used judiciously (or extravagantly) you can rev up your barbequed meats and side dishes. Live Boldly!
Eat Well – Be Well