The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli

It Burns is a 5-part Audible Original Podcast written and hosted by Marc Fennell about the bizarre war to grow the most brutal pepper on earth.

There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions. 


The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport? 

A cheerful, Aussie version of Louis Theroux, [Marc] roams around the globe and digs deeper and deeper into a subculture that, while merely a tad eccentric on the surface, conceals some much murkier goings-on.
— The Times

This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive.