Pieter Dekker is the pepper king of Zoetermeer: ​​’The art of eating peppers is dosing’

Pieter Dekker lives in Zoetermeer with his partner, two children and three cats and various experimental pepper varieties. There are more than four hundred pepper plants in his greenhouse.

Tell me Pieter, how did you come up with the idea of ​​selling hot pepper seeds?

“I started my company in 2018 Dekker Pepper founded that specializes in making and selling products made from chili peppers. I made my sauces from my own grown peppers. At one point this resulted in a greenhouse of over two hundred square meters with nothing but pepper plants. Because I am always working on expanding my business, pepper seeds were a logical step for me.”

Could you also sell the seeds you used yourself, or did you have to adapt your working method?

“It was not easy, pepper seeds are a natural product and nature cannot be forced. You never know what will come out of a seed. Ultimately I chose to go for completely isolated seeds, which are seeds that do not involve cross-pollination from other species and plants. This means that the seeds you put in the ground also become the plants you ordered. This is a time-consuming and expensive process, but you get the best quality and certainty.”

Do you grow all the pepper seeds yourself?

“No, I work with various suppliers within Europe. Growing isolated pepper seeds takes much more time, money and space than the regular cultivation of chili peppers. That’s why I started looking for growers who could help me with this. They supply the seeds.”

Photo: Pieter Dekker

Which hottest peppers do you have in your range?

“Haha, that’s a nice question. The officially hottest pepper in the world, measured by The Guinness World Records, has been the Carolina Reaper since 2017. The funny thing is that there are many peppers that are said to be many times hotter. Consider the Primotali and the Dragon Breath, which is unofficially said to be almost fifty percent hotter than the Carolina Reaper. Of course they are in our range. In addition, there are many more peppers that are not so much hotter, but tasty and still very hot. Think of the Jays Peach Ghost Scorpion, Habanero Red Savina, 7 Pot Lucy, but also the milder Lemon Drop and simply the Jalapeño.”

Do Zoetermeer residents like spicy dishes?

“Of course! I have a large customer group in Zoetermeer with different backgrounds. One person buys spicy chips, another buys fresh, hot peppers and quite a few grow my chilli pepper seeds.”

What is your favorite pepper? What kind of dish do you prefer to make with it?

“A question of conscience! I personally love smoked peppers, such as Chipotle (a smoked Jalapeño). That’s the perfect combination of flavor and heat for me. I also really like the Scotch Bonnet. Although it is quite hot (comparable to a Habanero and Madame Jeanette), the experience is a bit sweeter and a bit less fruity. When it comes to the hottest peppers, I really like the Bhut Jolokia. This one has a very fruity scent that I love and a full flavor that hits home once you get through the heat. I really love chili sin carne and that is also perfect for playing with different types of peppers.”

Do people still dare to come and eat with you?

“Certainly! We don’t eat very hot food at home. Sometimes I add pepper to dishes, but I usually season a dish by adding a sauce or herbs afterwards. The art of eating chili pepper is dosage. Anyone can eat a cracking hot pepper, as long as you adjust it to what you can handle in terms of heat. This way everyone can enjoy the amount of pepper that still makes you feel comfortable.”

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