Hot dish

On the sauce

When it comes to hot sauce, none is as mythic as Mado’s – we still keep an empty jar of the original in the NOW Test Kitchen fridge.

Back in the day, you could only buy the pungent papaya-based condiment, made in small batches by an Ajax homemaker named Elizabeth Madonis, at Kensington’s House of Spice. The Old York Bar and Grill’s Erin Dowse was one of many foodie fans.

“We used to get 15-litre pails sent down by cab, but then the supply dried up,” says the owner of the Wellington West bistro. “My brunch business began to suffer. Customers would actually get up and leave when they found out we didn’t have any!”

Dowse contacted Madonis and bought the rights to the peppery tonic. She’s been manufacturing the Dominican-style sauce ever since. It’s available again at House of Spice as well as nearby Sanagan’s and Lynn Crawford’s Ruby Eats on Queen East. The spectacularly spicy sauce is also finding a brand new market.

“My teenage son drinks it by the glass!”

Harbourfront heats up

The 16th annual Hot & Spicy Food Festival returns to York Quay’s Harbourfront Centre from Friday, August 30, to Sunday, September 2. Among the free events, expect Iron Chef competitions, a hot sauce market and music by Swamperella and super-hot jazz combo BadBadNotGood. Get more info at

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