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Steph and Dan: a couple of hot dogs

Steph runs this exciting company with her partner (and soon-to-be husband) Dan, who came from very different backgrounds. Dan was a chef for many years, working in high end kitchens for chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Steph worked for charities, doing fundraising, events and marketing. The idea for ChilliDogs came from Dan’s epic chilli con carne that he was famous for making whenever they had anyone round! Their ‘pots ‘o’ chilli’ soon turned into a chilli dog after they made contact with a local smokehouse who could make a hot dog to their exact dream recipe. Steph began ‘volunteering’ for ChilliDogs at the weekends and eventually quit her job completely a few years ago to work full time with her fiance.


“We don't feel like entrepreneurs, just 2 people spreading our love of food!”


CD Classic
These are some of the UK’s best gourmet hot dogs, pimped-up with a choice of incredibly tempting toppings, like cheese fondue and slow-cooked beef chilli…

“We are ChilliDogs and we bring our pimped-up, handcrafted hot dogs to events and festivals across England. We are based in South Oxfordshire but travel all over to spread our love of dogs!”


Steph and Dan wanted to make sure that their hot dog recipes and tastes were flawless before they started trading…

“The first chilli dog was sold in May 2014, but development started in 2013. It took us a few months and several ‘sausage tastings’ with family and friends to create our perfect dog!”


Like many of our traders, ChilliDogs was born from a desire to be free and independent…

“Dan had worked as a chef for over 8 years in various high-end restaurants and he’d reached a point where he realised he didn’t want to spend his whole life in the confines of a crazy kitchen. Living in London at the time, we saw the huge growth of the street food industry and felt it would be a way to use Dan’s skills, whilst allowing him to do his own thing, spend time outside of the kitchen and actually interact with the people enjoying his food.”


CD Setup
Steph and Dan’s lives were very different before ChilliDogs…

“I worked for a children’s charity in their marketing and fundraising team, which gave me my love of everything events! Dan was a chef working for the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Daniel Galmiche. Before ChilliDogs we barely saw each other as Dan often worked 18+ hour days… now we spend every waking minute with each other!”


The ChilliDogs branding is all about being familiar, fun and honest…

“We were lucky enough to be given a mentor through the Virgin Start-Up scheme who specialises in branding. He helped us to really think about our ideal customer and how to use this insight to build a strong brand, based around being a little cheeky, but also really genuine! We wanted to pitch our chilli dog as being the rebellious older brother of the hotdog.”


CD Cheese
Steph described the first three essential steps in getting their street food business set up…

“First we had to decide on a menu that was a bit different but not too ‘out there.’ Then we found events to trade at, which was the trickiest bit. Finally, we worked out what bare essential equipment we needed and bought it!”


We asked Steph if there have been any bumps in the road on the ChilliDogs journey…

“The first van we purchased gave us such a headache as it constantly broke down, but at the time we couldn’t afford to buy a new one. We continued to pump money into it, only for it to continue to let us down. We’ve also had issues with 50mps winds as well as equipment breaking and deliveries not turning up during mega busy events… but it’s all part of the job!”


But there have also been many really exciting and inspiring days…

“Our highlight so far was trading at the NFL Twickenham. It was the most mental day ever, but we smashed our record and had a lot of fun working as a team.”


CD Team
ChilliDogs are super adaptable and work really well at any kind of event…

“We’ve catered for a wide range of events, from a 4 day Indian wedding to the ASOS Black Friday staff incentive. I guess because our menu is so versatile and wide-reaching, we get asked by all sorts of people.”

“We love family events with a mix of ages and personalities! We also find our menu works well at events looking to feed large numbers in a small space of time, as we are able to serve over 350 portions of food per hour.”


Feast It wanted to know more about the mouth watering ChilliDogs menu…

“Our menu is made up of two parts - dogs and nachos. Our dogs range from our simple but effective, Classic Dog, one of our handcrafted smoked dogs in a brioche roll. Our signature Chilli Cheese Dog is one of our heft dogs in a brioche bun, generously topped with our slow-cooked beef chilli and silk real cheese fondue, with a choice of crispy onions and jalapeños to spice things up. Our nachos give those avoiding gluten a great option. They come with a choice of smoky black bean chilli, which is vegan, or beef chilli with cheese fondue and the option to add fresh guacamole.”


CD Nachos
Finally, we asked Steph if she and Dan had any ChilliDogs secrets that they’d be happy to let us in on…

“Ooh, I can’t give too much away but I can tell you one of Dan’s secret ingredients he uses in our beef chilli… Raw Cacao Butter! The smell is dreamy.”



Thank you to Steph and Dan for speaking to us about their brilliant brand and their delicious dogs! You can book ChilliDogs on Feast It today for any kind of event, big or small, from intimate weddings and birthday parties, to large office lunches. We have over 300 more caterers and pop-up bars, so we’re bound to have the perfect catering solution for your event!


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