DSC Member: Matthew Hilla Brings the (Sweet) Heat

Matt Hilla makes hot sauce with an unexpectedly sweet ingredient: maple syrup.


When it comes to food, sugar and spice is always nice. Something Matthew Hilla knows full well. Case in point: His smokey habañero hot sauce, Hotmaple. It relies on maple syrup as its key ingredient, which provides the right balance of sweet and heat in dishes such as his Garlic and Ginger Scallops (recipe below).

On being a culinary mad scientist: “I can’t tell you how many recipe changes it took to get the balance right between the maple syrup and habañeros. Maple syrup can either overwhelm the flavor of a recipe or disappear altogether. So I worked hard to perfect the cooking process and ingredient list to pair the subtleties of maple syrup with the heat of the habañero.”

On his next Frankenstein creation: “We’re currently whipping up a few seasonal sauces such as Rainier cherry-peach hot sauce. (We’re from the Pacific Northwest.) Like wine, they’ll be unique to the year and harvest—because we want everything to be locally sourced and as fresh as possible.”

On Hotmaple as a dessert: “A friend was feeling adventurous one Thanksgiving and added some Hotmaple to his pumpkin pie recipe. It was delicious. It added just enough savory, smokey sweetness to change the recipe in an unexpectedly great way.”

On his favorite part of the job: “Seeing the reactions of people when they try Hotmaple for the first time. It’s like a light goes off, and they’ve found something they were missing.”

On sneaking Hotmaple into restaurants: “Yeah, I do it. A buddy of mine owns a local Portuguese restaurant in Portland. The food is authentic and really good, but as I always say, ‘A little Hotmaple never hurt anybody.’”

Hotmaple Garlic & Ginger Scallops


  • 2 tablespoons Hotmaple Smokey Habanero
  • 6 large bay scallops
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 strips of prosciutto
  • 1 green onion (for garnish)


  1. Set your broiler to 450℉ and your topmost shelf to a distance of 8 inches.
  2. Cut prosciutto strips to scallop width.
  1. Wrap scallops in prosciutto strips and pin with a toothpick.
  2. Grind the minced garlic and ginger into a fine mash.
  3. Melt butter in microwave, and combine with Hotmaple Smokey Habanero Sauce and the garlic/ginger mash.
  4. Brush mixture onto the exposed top and bottom of the scallops.
  5. Arrange scallops onto broiler pan, and place on top rack.
  6. Cook scallops under broiler for six minutes or until slightly browned/opaque, turning once during cooking.
  7. Arrange on plate and garnish with scallions and add additional Hotmaple Smokey Habanero on the plate for dipping.

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