Rock Star Chilli Grower Local food producer chilli growing chili man with food agencies selling chile products Chorley Lancashire England UK 2

5: The Rock Star ChilliMan

Someone Wanted Me to Succeed—The Rise of The Rock Star ChilliMan

The chilliman RK Alker looking at a red chilli selling luxury products at a foodie community food event stand chutneyThe serendipitous ride of the ChilliMan was continuing on an inconceivable upward trajectory! Positivity was flowing like a waterfall. The buzz was electric!

My chillies and products were in high demand from consumers and retailers. I was supplying Michelin-starred restaurants!

I was in high demand. My attendance was required at events, competitions, media, TV and radio!

The sun was shining on me, and it felt amazing! This was a BIG thing! I felt limitless! On stage, in front of the cameras, on the radio, in the newspapers and magazines—I felt like a ROCK STAR!

The Food Community Wanted Me to Succeed

The support was unending. My success was also their success. From my local food producer friends, food agencies such as Made in Lancashire and North West Fine Foods, Food North West, to Myerscough College and The University of Central Lancashire. Not forgetting the foodies and of course, my family!RK Alker the chilliman cooking padron peppers at a foodie community food event with a chef and audience

My PR Representatives Wanted Me to Succeed

Massive help. They had tremendous ideas, filled the gaps in my thinking and joined the dots to my success.

PR Best PracticeListen to the PR and marketing people. Tell them your hopes and dreams and act on their advice.

The Media Community Wanted Me to Succeed

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman sat ina rocket flying to press and media stardomI had some outstanding locally produced luxury goods. They sat me in a rocket and lit the fuse. In the space of less than 14 days, I went from my first article in the local press, to BBC Radio Lancashire, to BBC News, to a documentary on ITV1!

I had entered a river of media attention and the current was strong, pulling me to London, national TV competitions and the company of big celebrities.

Getting Noticed with Striking Visual Appeal

My chilli company was called Little Green Men. I have Irish heritage. The Little Green Man image I was using in my logo and artwork was from a picture taken on a university night out on St Patrick’s Day. I had painted my face and hair in Irish colours!

I Created The ChilliMan

The Chilliman RK Alker Childrens Author in green makeup basket of food chillies beer and seeds growing kit at a food festival posing for press and media stardom from Chorley Lancashire England UKI bought makeup and green hair spray and painted myself as the brightly coloured chilli-growing Local Food Evangelist—The ChilliMan!

It worked unbelievably well. The ChilliMan was like a magnet for photographers, journalists, TV cameras and anybody who was attending the food festival looking for a story!

I am very grateful for the images people supplied. These days, if it isn’t photographed or videoed, it never happened! Back then, photos were scarce, and video was even rarer!

Again, serendipity did something that nobody else was doing on the food circuit. Everywhere I went, I got headline articles, press and media coverage. The attention and demands for stories, TV and appearances at events never seemed to end.

A Perspective of the Magnitude

There was only a handful of TV channels and newspapers two decades ago. Getting on all of them was a MASSIVE accomplishment! I refuse to say I was responsible for this. I was blessed with so much help and good fortune.RK Alker Children's Author award winning Chilliman Little Green Men 5-star book reviews testimonials primary faith school author visits reading funny kids books England Lancashire Day Press Media chilli grower foodie community big greenhouse

In Passion Lies Power

I had a chilli dream. I followed my heart and engaged my passion for chilli growing and the result was spectacular! The serendipitous rise of The ChilliMan began, and it was a product of LOVE! Build on that foundation and amazing things happen.

The Gift

In the BBC Talent Show “The Gift,” I was referred to as “a bit chilli-obsessed!”

I was. I pursued my love of chilli growing and chilli product making with unbridled passion. It was infectious. My love for my dream was obvious and flowed through everything I did.

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman sat in the gift for BBC Radio Lancashire a finalist in the X Factor competeition with press and media stardom

The judges also said I had a “smile in my voice.”

I was happy in my life, work and play. It is a period of my life for which I am eternally grateful to all. If you were part of it, I thank you again, and again… and AGAIN!

Analysing The Rock Star Rocket Ride!

My Winning Strategy was Simple:

Great Quality + Put on a SHOW! = Attention + Chilli Sales


There was a new wave of food evangelism and local food producers were the beating heart of it. I was in the right place at the right time.

Unique Passion

I was a fresh, crazy guy that loved chilli growing and pursued my dream with fearless passion. I was getting noticed everywhere I went. I was unique!

High-Quality, High-Demand Products

  • I offered fresh chillies in 120 varieties.
  • I added value with the help of my local food producer friends, and we turned the most popular products into wonderful chilli-flavoured foods.
  • I offered the best quality luxury foods at a price to allow me to reinvest in the business.

The ChilliMan Putting on a Show!

RK Alker the chilliman cooking red and green chilli padron peppers at a chili food event for the food community taken by Mr Dan

The ChilliMan face paint was a statement of entertaining intent and I sought to deliver.

Food and Cooking Demonstrations

  • I sought to get up in front of people either on a stage, in the media or on my event stand.
  • I would educate the public about chilli properties.
  • I offered tastings of all my products.
  • I cooked with chillies in my BIG pans. I had a pair of 3-foot paella pans and karai dishes.
  • And the funny showstopper was always the ChilliMan super-hot chilli tastings, usually by chilli fanatics known as chilliheads!

Shine at BIG Events

They invited me to exhibit at the epic 100,000-visitor-strong BBC Good Food Show in winter, pre-Christmas and later the combined event of BBC Gardeners’ World Live and BBC Good Food Show in summer at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). I ended up on stage with The Hairy Bikers one year!… and on BBC Gardeners’ World the next!RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman at the BBC Good Food Show NEC and Gardeners World with The Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King press and media stardom

Service to the Community

It began with outreach work, helping local food producers to utilise digital products (IT) better. I had strong community links with my local food producer friends and progressed to championing local produce and promoting local food producers.


My childlike joyous drive sought to educate the nation about chillies, growing, flavours and health benefits, and broaden consumer choice by increasing chilli varieties and products on the shop shelves.

Harnessing The Latest Technology

RK Alker Childrens Author as the Chilliman IT digital consultant outreach work in the foodie community helping small food producers use digital media better Made in LancashireI was a geek, in the right way! My chilli website shot to the top of Google as a resource for ground-breaking vlogging, recipes, growing instructions, history and much, much more! Online sales were the very latest thing. Mobiles did not exist as they do today. The process was painstakingly manual!

The ChilliMan harnessed the new Facebook and YouTube, which pulled people into the food events. My skills in websites and databases had sent my chilli website stratospheric with added video content as I videologged my way around the country at events and in and out of press and media.

Next-to-no-one vlogged like this in the noughties (2000 onwards.) The mobile phones did not shoot and upload. It was VCR tape, uploaded slowly to PC, slower to edit and even slower to upload over rudimentary broadband!

The hard work paid dividends—I topped 2 million visitors!

I got noticed…

Major Awards

My website, my community work and my media profile landed me an invitation to the Tourism Awards for Lancashire and Blackpool. Heavy competition from the major tourist resort was present. My one-man chilli band placed second against the GIANTS of Blackpool Zoo, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the winners, the 5-Star Ribby Hall Village.

ChilliMan Local Food Evangelist

The term Food Evangelist did not exist back then, but I was, without a doubt, an unrivalled Chilli Evangelist!

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman a finalist on Gary Rodes UKTV Local Food Heroes cooking chillies cheese and having a great time in the press and media stardom Chorley Lancashire England UKI expanded to grow 120 chili varieties. I turned them into food products and gave chili cooking demonstrations and chili talks at events nationwide. Over the ChilliMan period, I easily performed 2,000 speaking engagements in public, teaching and workshops.

Rock Star Celebrity Chefs

Things were getting star-studded! The rock star chefs held centre stage at food events and were very interested! I began to supply restaurants, some holding Michelin stars! And of course, the first rock star chef that put British food on the map came to see me: the late great Gary Rhodes, along with other celebrity chefs:

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman with Simon Rimmer of BBC Something for the weekend posing for press and media photgraphers stardom

I was a finalist on Gary Rhodes UKTV programme national competition: Local Food Heroes. UKTV Local Food Heroes was a competition to find, celebrate and award the UK’s best independent food businesses—those who championed local produce with a strong connection to their community. 

Simon Rimmer

and I were friends. He was on a tremendous supporter of local producers and featured my products on his BBC Something for the Weekend show on a Sunday morning.

The Hairy Bikers

We met so many times on the food circuit that we became friends and they invited me to attend events in which they featured. Above is an image of us on stage at the BBC Good Food Show.

Jamie Oliver & Gennaro Contaldo

I went for a beer with a key Jamie Oliver’s team member at a food event in London and was invited to the restaurant to chat with Gennaro and his team.RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman with Gino DAcampo backstage at Bolton Food and Drink Festival as compere cooking chillies and having fun smiling with a photographer from press and media stardom

Gino D’Acampo

I whipped up the crowd for Gino’s set on stage as the compere for my local Bolton Food and Drink Festival. We had such a laugh—what a character!

Channel 4 Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word Final

Alongside a host of celebrity guests such as Ricky Gervais, Janet Street-Porter, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sarah Beeny and many more, I judged the pizza competition between Johnny Vegas and Gordon Ramsay.RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman attending the F Word final with Gordon Ramsay witha signed copy of the sheep poo menu London Claridges for press and media stardom

James Martin

My first big food event demonstration was at the immense Food Lovers’ Festival at Stonyhurst, on the same stage as James! We also met at Bolton Food and Drink Festival as the compere for his set on stage.

BBC Chinese Food Made Easy

Ching He Huang came to see me at The BIG Chilli Greenhouse and we hatched a plan for a chilli campaign in my hometown!

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman on BBC Chinese Cooking Made Easy with Ching He HUang Chillies for Chorley press and media stardom

Creating a “Thing” is the Best Feeling in The World!

I was a bit of an academic. You do not achieve the position of university lecturer by chance. We love finding and creating new things. I had created something with no instructions or rule book, no predecessor, and I was one of the first.

I felt like I was doing something amazing and, importantly, I was always striving to be the best. My head was firing on all cylinders and exploding ideas in a thousand directions! Everything seemed to work! I felt like a rock star!

But really, I was just having the most fun I had ever enjoyed. I was having the best time of my life being the ChilliMan!

ChilliMan Alter Ego = Brilliant Fun!

RK Alker Childrens Author as the chilliman in green makeup eating red hot chilli chutney from a jar whilst posing for press and media stardomIn part 2 I said I was going to be “a first-class weirdo and go for it full-bore!” and The ChilliMan was my alter ego. When I took on his disguise and stepped into character, it was a bit like The Mask with Jim Carrey, in a good way! I had massive fun with my customers, event staff and chefs!

The ChilliMan Felt Similar to the Foodie Indiana Jones

I remember one day I felt a bit like Indiana Jones. Let me explain. I was watching Indiana Jones, with my then-girlfriend, now-wife. Whilst watching it, I thought that on some level there was a similarity:

I was a university lecturer just like (Doctor) Indiana Jones, that went on wild and wacky adventures as his alter ego: The ChilliMan!

I’m not saying I believed I was Indiana Jones, but to be living out my chilli dream as a mini version of my screen hero: Harrison Ford, was, I have to admit, pretty great, and hugely funny!

I was certainly living my best life! 😊

Question: How Far Can You Get on a Handful of Chilli Seeds ‘n’ Dirt with No Roadmap and No Money?How far can you get on a handful of chilli seeds and dirt RK Alkers amazing story of chilliman stardom rock star grower

I had very little start-up money. I bootstrapped the lot on a shoestring budget!…

With no money, no guidebook, and very little advice, from a handful of magic chilli seeds, I created the ChilliMan and ended up the first rock star chilli grower in the world of food and drink—not too bad for a newbie!

Coming Up Next for The ChilliMan

I was a Local Food Evangelist in the Local Food Revolution and burning white-hot! They branded me an expert, and I entered a river of media attention.

Proof of the chilli pudding is in the eating! I received coverage in the press and media, major awards and accolades, and was invited to and featured in the top competitions in the country!…


READ ON… Part 6: ChilliMan Press and Media



Part 1: Chilli Beginnings

RK Alker the chilliman going from unknown to famous to a children's author 2

Part 2: Polytunnel Chilli Passion

RK Alker the chilliman in his polytunnel growing chili plants and seeds as a famous children's author 2

Part 3: Chilli Leap of Faith

Chilli growing chili man jumping to freedom leap of faith across a ravine canyon valley

Part 4: The Foodie Community

Local food producer chilli growing chili man with food agencies selling chile products Chorley Lancashire England UK

Part 5: The Rock Star ChilliMan

Rock Star Chilli Grower Local food producer chilli growing chili man with food agencies selling chile products Chorley Lancashire England UK 2

Part 6: ChilliMan Press and Media

Chilliman Press and Media Stories F Word Lancashire Life for RK Alker Childrens Author The Chilli Man from Little Green Men Chorley England UK

Part 7: The BIG Chilli Greenhouse

RK Alker Childrens Author as the ChilliMan Chilli Growing in the BIG Greenhouse Little Green Men Chorley Lancashire Coast Best Selling International Writer UK

Part 8: Chilli Growing Instructions

Chilli Growing Instructions from RK Alker Childrens Author aka The ChilliMan in the BIG Chilli Greenhouse Little Green Men Chili Chorley Lancashire Coast England UK

Part 9: 999 Emergency Ambulances

RK Alker the chilliman on emergency 999 ambulances children's author of funny kids books Lancashire England UK


For my Kids’ Gardening Pages CLICK HERE

For more information on Gardeners World CLICK HERE


Who is RK Alker Children’s Author?

My Grandad vs The Fangazoo RK Alker Childrens Author of Funny Kids Books from Lancashire England UK 5-Star Book Reviews and TestimonialsR.K. Alker Best-Selling Children’s Author was born in the UK, but he was MADE IN LANCASHIRE!

He is famous as the TV & Radio ChilliMan aficionado and a champion of local producers or “Food Evangelist!”

R.K. Alker has a career spanning more than 3 decades of university lecturing, content writing, UK 999 emergency ambulances, media and entertainment as the colourful TV ChilliMan which contributed to this hilarious children’s adventure book written for his kids.

RK Alker Children's Author award winning Chilliman Little Green Men 5-star book reviews testimonials primary faith school author visits reading funny kids books England Lancashire Day Press Media chilli grower foodie community big greenhouse
Do you remember this funny entertainer? The ChilliMan was on all the TV & Radio Stations!

Read RK Alker Funny Kids’ Author’s amazing story in the PRESS SECTION CLICK HERE

RK Alker is an author of funny children’s books from Chorley, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom, Earth!

His little girls think RK Alker is the Best Funny Kids Author in the World.

Find RK Alker Children’s Author Events, Book Readings, Children’s Bedtime Stories, Kids’ Storytelling, School Author Visits, Children’s Book Signings and more on Eventbrite.

R.K. Alker is also The Chilli man from Little Green Men, a master of The Ancient Lancastrian Art of Ecky Thump! and can be found on Instagram, & Yell