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Peppered with Pride: A Story of Authentic Expression with Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce

Andre Springer, hot sauce aficionado and drag queen extraordinaire, shares his story of passion and individuality through pepper sauce.

Published on: June 06, 2024
Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce

What began as a drag performance piece under the alter ego Shaquanda quickly turned into a passionate business for Andre Springer. He never expected to turn his love for hot sauce into a business, but now five years into the journey, Andre is thrilled to see more and more queer people who look and sound like him in the industry.

Andre hopes to encourage other makers to express their authentic selves and tell their stories through their art, from hot sauce to drag. Every flavor of Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce contains robust whole ingredients to bring you a delicious balance of flavor and heat—without using any fillers or starches or relying on sugar and salt. The result is a delicious range of sauces that spotlight Mother Nature, amplify queer personalities, and bring fabulous flavor into your kitchen.

We spoke with Andre to explore how he draws inspiration from nature as well as his roots, surroundings, and community in Brooklyn. We asked him about how his business has evolved, the ways he hopes to amplify Pride and empower the next generation, and his excitement for Shaquanda’s Hot Summer Brunch at 1 Hotel West Hollywood.

Interview with Andre Springer, Founder of Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce

Your journey with Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce began at a Pride event and has always had strong ties to the LGBTQ+ community. How does celebrating Pride influence your work and your brand's mission?

I celebrate Pride every day of the year. This month marks a special time to collectively celebrate and remember the struggles that our predecessors went through. It is also a reminder that we are not alone in the equality struggle for all. Intellectual and visible equity is our brand's mission. To show up in person and on the shelves being our authentic selves is our mission, and Pride is one of those many moments we choose to celebrate the beauty and inclusion of our human differences.

Shaquanda's sauces are known for their unique flavor profiles and commitment to using whole, natural ingredients without fillers or starches, reflecting a similar ethos to that of 1 Hotels. Can you explain how you develop these distinct flavors and the importance of quality in your products?

Whole ingredients are the first step in creating a flavor profile that represents the truest and most articulate natural form of the product that we create. Combining high-quality dried ingredients, fermented, and fresh, creates a delightful symphony of flavor that plays together so well! For us, it's quality over quantity. We rely on the bounty of Mother Nature for flavor, unlike many other sauces that rely on tons of sugar and salt for flavor enhancement.

We're thrilled to host your Hot Summer Brunch at 1 Hotel West Hollywood's Juniper Garden. Can you give us a sneak peek into some of the delicious pairings guests can expect?

Chef Ginger Pierce and I have developed some delicious twists on classics, fun quirky takes on memorable delightful sandwiches, and bites that will bring back memories that will pair well with my sauces. Who doesn’t love a delicious crunchy bite of fried chicken, or a delightful day of fresh oysters and mignonettes!

Your tagline, “You don’t have to be royal to be the Queen of your kitchen! Dress your food with spice and flavor, huney!” is both catchy and empowering. Could you share the inspiration behind this fun quote?

We love a fun moment in the kitchen! We can be serious, we can be fun, we can be all the things a queen is to be whilst conjuring recipes in one’s kitchen! Anyone can bring these attributes to their kitchen, and with a little spicy help from Shaquanda’s, you can add subtle complex flavors along with a little heat that will complement any dish. A true Queen always knows how to provide for her subjects.

At 1 Hotels, we believe in the power of community and uplifting the next generation. How does Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce engage with and empower youth in your community, and why is it important to you?

It is all about visibility and fun for us! We want to remind our future generations to come that being your most authentic self is nothing to be ashamed of. Perhaps you are more of a serious person, and that's ok too! There is space for everyone to be who they are to be! Show us who you are as long as you're not hurting anyone, with the exception of chilis, of course!

Spice Up Your Pride Celebrations

Join us for a sizzling and flavorful garden Pride bash with Saquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce at 1 Hotel West Hollywood. Savor vibrant drinks, brunch bites, and spicy sauces as you enjoy performances by our special lineup of DJs and drag queens. Can’t make it? Let your pride shine at radiant events across our sanctuaries that range from rooftop parties and drag brunches to mixology classes and so much more.

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