“I decided to create my own hellish steak recipe. I immediately drew inspiration from outside of the culinary world: the first part of the 14th century poem, Divine Comedy. Also known as Inferno, this part was written by Dante Alighieri to document the descent into hell. That descent began at the gates of hell, which bore an inscription that ended with the words: ‘Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”, or ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’ That sounded like a fitting beginning for a hellish steak recipe. After passing through the gates, Dante made his way through nine circles of suffering — Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery — with each circle representing a gradual increase in wickedness.
“The nine circles got me to thinking. Many people think of eating chiles as a kind of suffering … with the heat and piquancy causing sweating and discomfort. I decided to use nine different chiles to represent the nine circles of suffering, with each subsequent chile being more ‘wicked’ (or spicier) than the last.” [. . .] —Chef Bolek, January 2, 2013.