It’s a Fiery World Partners with Intensity Academy for Mother’s Day Giveaway

If y’all remember, I reviewed Intensity Academy’s Chai Sweet Chili sauce on Hot Sauce Daily a while back. The sauce is dedicated to Michele Northrup’s mom, Barbara! To honor our mom’s and Mom’s everywhere, Intensity Academy and It’s a Fiery World are teaming up in a Mother’s Day giveaway contest! Post a memory about your mom in the comment section below this post and on the Chilehead Facebook Page post where this is shared. Michele and I will pick a lucky winner at random on Mother’s Day to receive a gift pack of saucy goodness from Intensity Academy! I’m proud to team up with Intensity Academy in this great testimony to Mom’s everywhere! So start commenting!

My original review of Chai Sweet Chili Sauce is re-posted below.


Michele Northrup, who puts the Intense in Intensity Academy, told me I just had to try out her new sauce.

She proceeded to share that the sauce was dedicated to her mom, Barbara Northrup, who Michele lost not long ago. And even cooler still, Intensity Academy donates a portion of the profit from sales of their Chai Sweet Chili Sauce to different charities. And then, later that night, this sauce won a Golden Chili in the Asian sauce category. And with that as our backdrop, let’s give Chai Sweet Chili a ride around the block and see what’s under the hood.

Ingredients: Organic brewed Chai Tea, Thai pepper puree, distilled vinegar, garlic, rice wine vinegar, tapioca starch and natural spices.

Texture/Appearance: – This is a medium thickness sauce with a nice, reddish hue that gives away its Thai Pepper pedigree. The texture is varied, believe it or not, due in large part to the pepper pieces and parts you get when you eat it. Now mind you, I’m eating spoonfuls of this sauce before and during my review, and the difference in texture wouldn’t really be noticed in regular application. Now, the fresh pepper flakes in your teeth might give your friends a feel for texture (not really….well, okay, one did make an ugly display between my teeth, but a quick water rinse nipped that little problem pepper in the bud!) The pepper puree and the tapioca starch give the sauce some body, which is useful when using it as a glaze for salmon, chicken, etc. And as you can see in the picture, the appearance of Chai Sweet Chili is attractive when mixed with the stir fried shrimp I cooked.

Taste/Flavor Straight Up: – While the first taste might lead you to believe that this is a normal asian style stir-fry sauce, the Chai tea quickly jumps up and says, Hey You!! You taste me!? That’s right! Chai Tea is in the house! Do we have a problem? I swear that’s what I heard! Okay… not really, but it could have been. However, the Chai tea did not come in as the upfront flavor. That distinction came from the sugar and spices, who won the footrace to be first flavor out the bottle. The cool part of this sauce and its hipster Chai Tea influence is that the tea is almost an afterthought flavor… a middle note surrounded by a chorus of flavor. But you can hear it, loud and clear, and it’s a clean note-fresh, unassuming, and amazingly bright. I tried this sauce on my home made stir-fried shrimp and veggies, and it tasted as good as the accompanying picture looks. I put it on fish, veggies, and started to drink it on the rocks, but then I remembered about the pepper flake in the teeth incident, and decided to back off of that idea. The Thai pepper influence, however, is apparent, but in a subdued, muted horn sort of way. You’d expect something a little different, which brings us to heat.


Heat Level: – Please don’t take this rating as a negative, because this sauce wasn’t designed to be hot. But on a 5 star scale, I can’t muster more than a level 2 in heat. And that’s what is kinda neat and unique about it. One of the major ingredients is Thai Pepper puree, and while it gives a fun little zing that hits your taste buds on a slight delay, it’s a muted zing. And no zang. And definitely no zowee! Go back to that muted horn thing. Here you have a huge horn section (work with me here- thai pepper is a major ingredient that equates to a large horn sec… oh never mind… you get the picture), and you’re expecting hot Thai Pepper notes that sound loud and bold like a good Chicago tune. But no – the heat is subtle, muted, and blended seamlessly into the other flavor profiles that I enjoyed so much.

Label/Graphics: – I liked the label, and loved the little write up on the side about Michele’s mother, Barbara. It is inspiring and pleasing, and I liked the pink background mixed with the grass and muted sun. The peacock on the label is a great representative for this sauce, and not just because it is a beautiful bird on a sauce honoring a beautiful lady. If you know anything about Peacocks, you know that they are loud and fearless and will get up in your face if you threaten them and scare the beejeezus out of you. They weren’t used to guard palaces for nothing, you know! I can’t help but think that this is Michele’s tongue in cheek trophy to her beautiful, protective, strong mom, Barbara.

Overall Impression: – This is an excellent asian style chili sauce. I would even call it fun. That’s partly why I infused some fun into my review. It just seemed to fit this sauce and Intensity Academy overall! If you know Michele Northrup and her husband Tom, you know that these folks have fun with their products. But they’re all business when it comes to flavor. This sauce can be serious on stir fry, casual on plain green beans, classy on fish, and always fun. While I don’t know for certain, I have to think that when Michele created this sauce, she was in the kitchen reminiscing about her mom, and thinking about how Barbara Northrup could be funny, serious, classy, not so classy (hard to be classy running after kids, wiping dirty noses, and cleaning bathrooms), and look as good in jeans as she did in sequins. I never met Michele’s mom, but that’s the image I get. How cool is that? And how cool to create something unique, fun, and amazingly tasty. Chai Sweet Chili is just that cool. Get you some. Enjoy. And if you’re blessed to still have your momma, call her up and tell her you love her.

About the company: Intensity Academy opened for business in 2007 in the Tampa, Florida area. According to their website, they have won multiple awards for their diverse line of sauces, including Scovies, Golden Chiles and Fiery Food awards. Check out their website at and be greeted by a school motif (the name is Intensity Academy, after all). Use the contact info on the website for questions that the site doesn’t answer.

About the author: Ken Alexander is a self-proclaimed Chilehead, with a love of spicy food, hot sauce, and the zest of life. An avid Andy Griffith fan (can you find the hidden Barney Fife reference in the review?), Ken lives in Baton Rouge, LA, in the heart of Cajun Food country, and enjoys experiencing new tastes and flavors from all over the world. He is a staff reviewer and festival reporter for I Love it Spicy and a regular contributor to HotSauceDaily. Ken also likes humming TV theme songs, playing Yahtzee, and quoting old Kris Kristofferson lyrics.

Categories: hot sauce, reviews
Tags: chai, hot sauce, tea, thai

Posted on May 8, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. My Mom was not only my Mom…she was my best friend! Being the only girl in a family of 4 boys was always fun, but the bond between Mom and I was made of steel. She taught me at an early age to start cooking letting me help in the kitchen, helped me join the 4H club for cooking, and sent me to Reddy Kilowatt School of Cooking in the summer and she and dad never ever critized anything that I helped make. That positive re-inforcement carried me throughout my life. I earned the family title of “Holiday Cook” though I always depended on her to taste test. I have continued the tradition of cooking with my great nieces and nephew; they love helping with holiday dinner cooking and cookie baking using Mom’s recipes. My Mom was and always will be “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and now she wears those wings on her shoulders. I know she is always with me especially when I cook.


    • Congratulations to Sarah Warhul for winning the “It’s a Fiery World/Intensity Academy Mother’s Day giveaway. Michele picked the winner at random and Sarah posted on Mother’s Day!!! Thanks for Michele Northup and gang at Intensity Academy for their wonderful products and their giving hearts. We loved honoring our moms and your moms and I know they are smiling right now!!! Sarah, be looking for an email from Michele Northup, or message her on FB with your address and prepare to be amazed by the saucy goodness you’ll get from your gift pack!!! Congratulations and thanks again to everyone for participating!!!!


  2. Firehead Thomas

    My mom is my hero. She is all of the things the previous posters on this site have described, and more. She sacrificed, and we three kids never knew it. She endured a tough marriage, and we never knew it. She worked 2 jobs as a teacher by day, and a waitress by night, and we never knew it. When a popular fads came out in the 80’s, and all of our friends had JAM’s shorts….she bought the pattern and made us something similar, since she couldn’t afford the real ones. When Christmas came, we had everything we asked for and didn’t understand what she did to get it. She has helped countelss children achieve excellence as a teacher and a guidence counselor over 40+ years. She has 2 Masters Degrees! She worked during the day and went to school at night to get them! Amazing. She was the first teacher on the East Coast to initiate an all day Kindergarten program. I could go on all day about her, I am but a shadow of her. To this day, in her retirement, she works for Sylvan Learning Center a few days a week, because she can’t stop helping children succeed. I keep telling her to slow down and she won’t, because she loves it too much…wow.
    My mom is my hero.


  3. My Mom put up with me for the last 39 years and even in public she still admits to loving me…good stuff! Only one lady in my life I call Mom and I love her dearly!


  4. I have always felt cared for with my Mom. She always put up with my foolishness and never judged me too much outside of my days where I used to shave my head bald. She loved my brother, my sister and myself equally and I never felt like she took sides unless someone was holding the bloody evidence. Even though I live 300+ miles away, I always feel the love when we talk on the phone. I could not have asked for a better person to be called my Mother. Thanks Mom, I love ya!


  5. My mom, shes always been there for me. I don’t give back to her nearly whats shes given to me. Shes was the one who raised me, my father left when i was 2 months old. She taught me to live and let live, that you should never harm a living thing unless you absolutely have to. I honestly don’t know what i would do without her.


  6. My best memory, is mom putting black pepper on my tongue for calling my sister a bitch.


  7. Brandi Rozier

    I used to take my mom for granted. She was always there for anything I needed and usually gave me anything I wanted; regardless of how petty or unreasonable my needs or wants might have been. Until I became a mother and started facing my share of daily stresses from home, kids, school, work, finances, etc, I hadn’t realized all the sacrifices she made for me growing up. And now, as her health continues to decline, I know, more than ever that our time is precious. I can only hope, over the sands of time, that I am half the mother to my three little ones that she is to me.


  8. scottrobertsweb

    I’m going to be very blunt and honest. My mom is a mixed blend of a lot of personality types. I have to admit, there are some I don’t care for. The guilt-producing, manipulative side with a touch of being mentally unbalanced caused me strife in my younger years. Even when I was 8-years-old I knew that something was “off” with her.

    But that having been said, I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be my mom. She was always there for me as a kid. She was very accepting of whatever venture I was in or whatever career path I took. She accepted my ex-girlfriends and my ex-wife as if they were her daughters, even when she knew they were trouble before I realized it. She’s the one grandmother that my two sons were always excited to see, because she treats them as good as she treated me. And it’s always funny how every time I go to visit her, she’s always giving me bags of food and household supplies to me to keep me “stocked up” as if I were a starving, 19-year-old college student with only two cents to me name. LOL! The love and support she’s displayed has been unfathomable. I love you, Mom.


  9. One of my fav memories of my Mom is when we first got to see Conner at the hospital, it was a long wait via adoption hoops and after 3 losses etc, and seeing her tears of JOY along with ours, was priceless as she held her grandson for the first time…


  10. My Mom made the best cheesecake in the whole wide world.


  11. The Lady that was the one I called Mom, the one that listened when I needed a ear, the one that was there when I needed a hug. The one that taught me how to treat a Lady, opening doors for them and all those little things. The one that loved me for who I was, not what they wanted me to be. The one that was taken way too soon, that didn’t get to see me full fill one of the last things she asked me to do, for culinary school was for her as much as it was too me. Mom I miss you and our hours of talking.


  12. My mom goes to work everyday representing clients, fixing other attorneys mistakes, and making sure everyone gets a fair and proper decision in the courthouse. She saves the day legally everyday.


  13. What I loved about my mom was that her ear was always available no matter the time of day and night. She told me if I ever needed someone to talk to, her door was always open. Each and every time I left her house I felt better and had a smile on my face. Sadly, physically talking to her ended on February 23, 1993 when she passed away from a sudden illness. To this day though when I need to talk all I have to do is close my eyes and there she is. I talk to her and I know she’s listening just as she did in the past.

    Love & Miss You Mom.


  14. My Mom had no limits, everything was possible.


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