Growing up as a kid in Brooklyn, NY, Lloyd Vassell didnít put much importance on his Arawak Indian culture. "My family was always very proud of their Arawak heritage, but I didnít appreciate it.Ē
As a young man in Jamaica, Lloyd's father joined the Merchant Marines and sailed the world for 17 years. After he apprenticed with the ship's chef, he eventually took over the position and used all the culinary influences he experienced in his travels, merging them with his Jamaican culture.Ē
When Lloydís father retired from the Merchant Marines, he was hired as a chef at a New York City restaurant. ďAt home, Mom cooked during the week, but Dad cooked on weekends and holidays. He didnít really teach me to cook, so much as he encouraged me to do it myself. Iíve been cooking since I was 12."
Professionally, however, Lloyd took a very different path, working in marketing and branding for major corporations, such as Avon, M&M Mars, and Sun Microsystems. During that time he and a partner had a nightclub and bar in New York, where Lloyd exercised his culinary ability through developing menus and working closely with his chefs, gaining experience for both the ďfront of the house, and the back of the house.Ē
In 2009, he began working on his pepper sauces. People loved them, but he didnít think seriously about producing them commercially. ďIn 2012, I wanted a new challenge, and my wife suggested that I turn the pepper sauces into a business.Ē
After a lot of market research, he concluded that while there are many hot sauces, his Pepper Sauces offer a very different texture, viscosity, and flavor profiles. He used what he learned about Arawak culture and the culinary experiences from family gatherings and created his line of specialty condiments: Pepper Sauces, Spicy Fruit Spreads, and Dry Rub and Spice Blends.
He named his company using his last name, Vassell Foods Inc., but the brand name for his sauces, rubs and fruit spreads came to him in the middle of the night. ďIím an Arawak Indian. Itís part of my history."
ďI love cooking, and I love seeing a smile on peopleís face and hearing them say, ĎItís hot, but I canít get enough. Ď100% Natural. 100% Family.í isnít a slogan. Itís the way it is. This is for my family!Ē