Meet the Chef

Max Famiglietti

Chef Max Famiglietti showing off his flagship hot sauce - Tiger Fire HabaneroPhoto: Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral FL USA

Chef Max Famiglietti has been cooking since he was released to the world at 18, heading off to the University of Florida to study Mechanical Engineering. Armed with a handful of his mother's amazing recipes, he quickly added his own essence into those meals - that essence? Heat. That handful of meals quickly evolved into dozens of home cooked dishes, with ever increasing spice levels. And though he dabbled into homemade hot sauces over the years it wasn't until recently that Tiger Fire was born. Scroll down to read more!

Chef Famiglietti about to blend the first batch of Tiger Fire Hot Sauce to ever exist - "Always wear protection!" - Max Photo: Moksha Hostel, Huanchaco, Pero

Fast forward to March 2020, after a year long backpacking trip through South America, Famiglietti finds himself in a COVID lockdown in Moksha Hostel in Huanchaco, Peru. With the country shutdown, Famiglietti and 25 other international travelers are stuck in this hostel with nothing but time and a lot of fresh Peruvian produce. Needless to say, not long into the lockdown, Tiger Fire Hot Sauce was born. And just like the Netflix Tiger King Documentary for which its named, Tiger Fire blew up in popularity in Huanchaco! Scroll down to read more!

The Original Tiger Fire Hot Sauce - made from local Peruvian Peppers: Aji Limo (red) and Aji Escabeche (orange).Photo: Moksha Hostel, Huanchaco, Peru

Tiger Fire quickly became a currency in Moksha, with Famiglietti trading spoonful's for everything from beers to full course meals, and soon after, for Soles - the Peruvian currency. As the town opened up, the Moksha Restaurant opened up for take out, at which point Max was able to sell Tiger Fire through the restaurant. The notoriety of the sauce in the town landed Famiglietti his first ever restaurant job as Co-Head Chef of Hola Ola Point - a local restaurant startup. Keep scrolling!

The Hola Ola Crew after cooking a 5 course and 5 star in-house catering meal for a local Peruvian's BirthdayPicture: Huanchaco, Peru. Left to Right: Jose, Max, Lorenzo, and Jorge

With Max as a Co-Chef, Hola Ola went from Peruvian to Peruvian x American Fusion, as Famiglietti mixed in his flare to the fare. And with Tiger Fire as a staple sauce in nearly every meal, Famiglietti learned how to scale up production and it was around this time that he knew that TF had really great potential.

The last (and largest) batch of Tiger Fire ever made in PeruPhoto: Moksha Hostel, Huanchaco, Peru

After 6 months in Huanchaco (5 more than planned!), Famiglietti returned to the United States, leaving behind his second home and a set of life long friends, but bringing with him, a new language, some incredible memories and an amazing hot sauce recipe.

Chef Max Famiglietti and a plate full of Habaneros soon to be the first batch in the USA - Still wearing protection!Photo: Max's House, Sarasota, Florida USA

Famiglietti returned to Sarasota, FL in December of 2020 and immediately converted the recipe to Habanero - his all time favorite pepper. Local popularity for Tiger Fire grew explosively and on January 1st, 2021 Tiger Fire Hot Sauce (Tiger Fire LLC) was born.

The Tiger Fire Container Progression

April 2020

Sauce Cups: the first Peruvian Tiger Fire Containers

December 2020

Dime Bags: the first American Tiger Fire Containers

January 2021

Mason Jars: after Max realized how absurd dime bags were..

January 2021

Woozy Bottles: after Max realized he shouldn't re-invent the wheel..

Some would say distributing hot sauce out of dime bags at local bars is unorthodox, and well, it is.. Its also entirely possibly that it was the first and only time it has ever been done..

"You'll probably never get another opportunity to score hot sauce out of a dime bag at bar"

- Max would say to his bar going patrons.

Random as it was, it certainly got the word out and the brand grew because of it. Although the baggies were cool and all, they were terrible for handling sauce, and after a brief stint with mason jars, Max finally put his sauce into the container that everyone's been using for decades: the 5oz 'woozy' hot sauce bottle.


Habanero 'Chill'


In early '21, Famiglietti had 3 flavors - Habanero, Habanero 'Chill' and Serrano. The Habanero was the flagship, the 'Chill' a chilled-out version of the Habanero, and the Serrano a new green sauce with an earthy tang. Famiglietti's sauce demand quickly out grew his home kitchen's capacity, and he knew it was time to go full legit.

Over the next two months Famiglietti developed the brand with the help of his good friends, including a graphic designer he had met in Ecuador, named Daniela Duran. Together they created the official Tiger Fire Hot Sauce Brand and those eye popping labels you see today.

In parallel to designing the logo, Famiglietti sought out a copacker to make his sauce in a commercial kitchen. Due to the high upfront costs per flavor, he chose to focus on the crowd favorite: The Habanero. And after two months of hard work designing the label and finding the manufacturer, the first official batch of Tiger Fire Habanero was created. 1200 bottles of Max's hard work produced almost a year to the day from that first batch in Moksha Hostel!

Gidget's Costal Provisions

Tiger Fire vs. Arch Rival Tiger Sauce

Key Lime Pie Shop

With product in hand it was all about promotion! Max threw the Tiger Fire Official Launch Party at the first restaurant to take on his brand: The Tamiami Tap, a local restobar near his house. After the launch it was all hustle for Famiglietti. Focused solely on locally owned establishments, he went door to door to every Sarasota owned restaurant, grocery and retail store from Siesta Key to Anna Maria.

The combination of the phenomenal flavor, the eye-catching labels and Famiglietti's raw enthusiasm, found Tiger Fire astonishing success in the 941. In under three weeks, Tiger Fire went from one restaurant to 25 shops and restaurants including Sarasota Famous Mattison's City Grille and The Compound Boardshop.

At the end of March 2021, Famiglietti's life took a crazy (and cool) turn, getting hired by SpaceX as a Fairing Recovery Engineer and moving to Cape Canaveral, FL.

Despite having a lot less time on his hands, Famiglietti's passion for his brand persevered. On the weekends he promoted with the same enthusiasm he had in his home town, landing Tiger Fire in popular restaurants and shops all over Brevard County including becoming the featured hot sauce in Coconuts on the Beach - the largest and most famous restaurant in Cocoa Beach!

When he's not offshore recovering rocket parts Famiglietti is still experimenting with new flavors and recently dropped The Habanero HITTER - the next level in the Tiger Fire Habanero Saga.

Looking to the future Famiglietti is hoping to get into the Florida Local Section of Publix by early 2022!