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Selena’s Widower Chris Perez Talks About His New Business Venture: Hot Sauce

Selena's widower Chris Perez says he's touring to honor the late star's legacy. And also that he made his own hot sauce.
Selena's widower Chris Perez says he's touring to honor the late star's legacy. And also that he made his own hot sauce.
courtesy Chris Perez
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The year ahead will be big in the realm of Latin music. 2020 will mark 30 years since the release of Selena Quintanilla’s iconic sophomore album, Ven Conmigo. It will also mark 25 years since Selena’s untimely death. In honor of Selena and her impact on Tejano music, Chris Perez, her widowed husband and former Selena y Los Dinos bandmate, is planning a national tour. Additionally, Perez will also be launching a new hot sauce before the end of the year.

The hot sauce, named Perez Pepper Sauce, became available for purchase online through CaJohns Fiery Foods Co. on Nov. 16.

The launch seems to be years in the making, as Perez has been known for his love of hot sauce since the ’90s.

“A lot of people already know that I’ve been down with the hot sauces and just spicy stuff in general since I was super young,” Perez says. “Obviously, I had to kind of work up my tolerance, you know what I mean? Eventually, it got to the point to where almost nothing was hot enough and then if it was not enough just maybe it was that it was all heat, no flavor.”

Perez later went on a quest to find as many flavors as he could. While he won’t share the recipe for his sauce, Perez says hot sauce connoisseurs can expect to taste hints of serrano pepper, cayenne pepper and more.

“I was down in McAllen the other day, and I had a couple of bottles, and we had a sampling area and people seemed to really enjoy the flavor,” Perez says, noting that he changed the recipe “about three or four times” before he was fully satisfied.

In a famous clip from the 1997 film, Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez as Quintanilla and Jon Seda as Perez, Seda, as Perez, is seen pouring hot sauce on a pizza. Perez says that those who buy the hot sauce will be able to put it on all of their favorite foods.

“Honestly, it goes good with everything, man,” Perez says. “I’ve put it in my caldos [broth], my fajita tacos — it goes really good with tamales, and we’re at that time of year when everyone starts going crazy for the tamales.”

Perez worked with his manager, John Gomez, to help facilitate the creation of the hot sauce. While it's not unusual for musicians to venture into other businesses, Perez says the process was something completely new to him. While he did seek insight from others, Perez says that like his music, Perez Pepper Sauce comes directly from his heart.

“I want it to be what I want it to be,” Perez says. “I don't want somebody telling me what to do. You know, I might ask for an opinion, of course, but this thought process is a personal thing for me.”

When creating Perez Pepper Sauce, Perez approached it as he would a record.

“I wanted to create something from scratch,” Perez says. “Every record or recording I do is fresh, in the sense that it hasn’t been done before by me. But this is a new project altogether. It’s exciting, and it’s something that has opened my eyes with wonder. At the end of the day, I’m proud of my product. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a labor of love, because it’s just been love.”

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