Updated: Jan 30, 2022
A truly unique character, Max inhabits and embodies the Ring of Fire.
"In chile-head circles, the Ring of Fire was an early-internet linked group of websites peddling super-spicy products and a general obsession with all things hot. Most enthusiasts were outright heat junkies, and many were also members of the International Society of Hot Sauce Aficionados. Yet within a tight subculture of the Ring, there existed a group of hardcore pepper-heads whose motivation in life was to discover new varieties around the world, create hybrids, and capitalize on the new fruit - primarily for bragging rights. Max went much further, hoping to preserve heirloom varieties and experience the cultures that bred them. Every man has his Shangri-La, and this was Max’s, a global epicurean adventure. His passion had led him around the world, usually off the beaten track, to small villages and remote valleys, where he forged relationships and gained the trust of people often wary of outsiders.
His shop in Laguna Beach became the repository of these escapades, filled with the stories, images, and ultimately, the tasty products derived from them. In the chile world, he had become well-known, admired by many, envied by others. Nevertheless, the lasting relationships he established provided Max with a reason to do what he did and love it, even alone. By creating interconnections among people worldwide who had a strong bond with the earth, who loved food and drink, and supporting small farmers and entrepreneurs against the massive industrial machine, Max found his place in the world."