Food

How Mike's Hot Honey sparked the sweet-heat menu trend, starting with Paulie Gee's Brooklyn pizzeria

Mike Kurtz and Paul Giannone started drizzling hot honey on pizza more than 10 years ago, and now, that drizzle is flooding menus across the country.

 Hot honey may be the hottest condiment of the year, infusing restaurant menus across the country with sweet heat.

Mike Kurtz first tasted hot honey on a pizza in Brazil in his early 20s and started making his own chili-infused honey in his Brooklyn apartment. He brought samples to Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee’s and soon turned owner Paul Giannone onto the idea of drizzling his pies with hot honey.

Fast forward 10-plus years, and Mike’s Hot Honey is now a staple on retailer’s shelves and in foodservice kitchens. Paulie Gee’s Hellboy, a pizza topped with soppressata, mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano and hot honey, has long been on the permanent menu, and operators including First Watch, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Madison Square Garden feature the condiment in everything from margaritas to fried chicken, wings, breakfast sandwiches and ice cream sundaes.

Paul Giannone and Mike Kurtz
Paul Giannone, left, and Mike Kurtz

Listen as Kurtz and Giannone share how they put hot honey on the culinary map, why the sweet-heat trend is currently booming and where the next stops on this flavor journey might lead.

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