“Our sauces excite the palate; they don’t burn it,” says Paul DiBello, the one-and-only Captain Spongefoot. “We don’t play the hot, hotter, hottest game. We’re about flavor, flavor, flavor!”
Captain Spongefoot Fast Facts
“In Pepper We Trust”
Selling Since: 2005
Home Base: Granby, CO
Claim-to-Fame: Original Wing Sauce
Captain Spongefoot sauces come in three varieties: Award-winning Original Recipe Buffalo Wing Sauce featuring just the right amount of heat and an outstanding and complex flavor profile; the very versatile Chipotle Sauce with a perfect blend of chipotle peppers and chili de Arbol in a cayenne base; and the Asian spicy Z Sauce highlighting Sriracha peppers with a hint of Wasabi.
The Captain Spongefoot philosophy is “flavor first, then heat” so each sauce has a unique and highly robust flavor profile designed to complement rather than overwhelm food with just the right amount of heat. The sauces are produced from fresh, natural ingredients including carefully selected peppers and exotic spices and never include powdered pepper concentrates, artificial flavors, or colors.
Captain Spongefoot Trading Company walked away with three trophies from the 2004 National Buffalo Wing Festival, winning first prize for the Best Medium Traditional Wing Sauce in the “out of town category” for their Original Sauce; their Chipotle Sauce placed second in the “Creative Spicy” division; and they received third prize for their Chipotle Sauce in the “Creative BBQ” division. These titles were earned by out-tasting the fierce competition of more than 100 entrants.
The Chronicles of Captain Spongefoot
After suffering from severe frostbite on an ice climbing expedition in 1974, Paul’s two feet and two fingers were amputated. Early prosthetic feet were made out of a spongy material that make a squishing sound when wet. So, when his feet were constantly water-soaked while working around boats at his sailing business on Lake Granby, Paul was given the nickname “Captain Spongefoot.”
Never one to let obstacles get in his way, Paul founded the National Sports Center for the Disabled Competition Program at the Winter Park Ski Resort. The program has provided training for hundreds of disabled skiers from around the world. Paul himself is a three-time world disabled ski champion and a world-renowned coach of champion disabled racers. In 1985, Paul DiBello was honored by Esquire magazine as one of the 120 “America’s New Leadership Class: Top People Under 40 Who Are Changing the Nation.”
Throughout his 20 years at Winter Park, Paul prided himself on making some of the finest wing sauces this side of the Mississippi. At his own football parties, family and friends would forever compliment him on his tasty treats. When he decided to retire from the Winter Park program in 2005, he began to pursue his passion for wings full-time. These days you can regularly find Paul cooking and bottling his sauce, eating his fair share of wings, and loving every minute of his new life. • Profile courtesy of Captain Spongefoot.
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