By Brian Ponte
As the Fall semester comes to a close, two students are looking forward to what the future holds for the club they started just a few months ago.
After inquiring about student interest, Ryder Iwata and Mark Perkins decided to share their love of hot sauce and spicy foods with the rest of the student body. The appropriately named “Hot Lovers” club quickly became one of Purchase’s more popular student organizations, often attracting dozens of students to their weekly meetings.
“I’m a connoisseur of hot sauce—I grew up with my mother just spoonfeeding us chili,” Iwata said. “At the end of the day it’s a fun point to bring people together on campus and to get to know new people and new cultures and different likes and dislikes. It’s like a nice little fun party.”
The Hot Lovers’ meetings mostly consist of students trying a variety of hot sauces and spicy foods, often with french fries as a delivery device, but the two founders have bigger dreams of what the club can provide the Purchase community.
“One time somebody brought in their own homemade vegan hot sauce which was really good,” said Perkins, who originally approached Iwata with the idea of the club. “Hopefully we can do more stuff like that, where we can get more people who know things about hot sauces and spicy foods to bring in their own ideas and their own input.”
The Hot Lovers hope their club will allow for members to familiarize themselves with aspects of other cultures in an engaging way.
“One girl came in and suggested Nigerian food, and this is a great opportunity to talk about different cultures,” Iwata said. “I’d love to go out and get the foods she said and bring them to the club and experience new things. The club brings people together over a common interest and it fuels unity in the school.”
Iwata and Perkins are naturally funny, and have the sort of confident aloofness that one might expect from a duo who dubbed their club the “Hot Lovers,” but it would be a mistake to confuse their playful demeanor with a lack of seriousness. The duo are obviously passionate about both their club and spicy foods in general, which shines through when either of them start talking about the complexities of spice.
‘Hot is not a flavor, hot is a feeling, it is pain and it’s interesting,” Iwata said. “We argue about sauces and the Scoville scale. We have a playlist of only songs with the words ‘hot’ or ‘spicy.’ We’re here to geek out about hot sauce.”
The club will soon meet with the PSGA’s Council of Clubs and Organizations to advocate for their continued club status. While there has reportedly been some pushback from a few individuals, the duo have mostly encountered positivity.
“We’ve heard rumors that some people are opposed to it because it’s too specific of a club but we’ve also heard that people are very supportive of it,” Perkins said. “I’ve never met this opposition.”
With an optimistic outlook, Iwata invited all interested students to “come get spicy with us.”