For longtime pals Monika Luczak and Przemek Adolf, a decade-long friendship quickly turned into a business partnership after traveling abroad. After returning stateside, a recipe brainstorm session led to a sandwich epiphany. The answer: global-influenced spreads using local ingredients—no preservatives or tongue-twisting ingredients allowed.

Some people come home from vacation with souvenirs. Michael Kurtz returned from South America with a burning desire.

On his adventures, he had spotted an intriguing pepper-infused honey inside a Brazilian pizzeria and was adamant in trying to replicate his own version. The process it turned out would take him seven years. Meanwhile, Kurtz started a job bartending at Greenpoint pizzeria Paulie Gee’s.

To put it mildly, Brooklynite Jolene Collins has a red-hot passion for Sriracha. It started at age 15 when the then-teen smeared the hot sauce all over her tuna sandwich and potato chips.