The Carolina Reaper and Risk Assessment

10. 01. 19 John Chapman

The Carolina Reaper and Risk Assessment

The Carolina Reaper is rated as the World’s Hottest Chilli by the Guinness World Records. According to the web site, Pepperhead,

“There is nothing normal about this pepper. It was bred for heat and that it is, with an average SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) of over 1.5 million and peaks at 2.2 Million SHU! Just looking at it, you know it’s one mean pepper. The Carolina Reaper has a unique stinger tail that is unlike any other pepper. It gets this insane heat from being a cross between a Pakastani Naga and a Red Habanero.”

I learnt about the Carolina Reaper whilst browsing in Spice Mountain, a shop in Borough Market, London. On initial inspection it looked like a chilli of some type, so would have been treated with a little respect when using it. Yet at 1.5M+ Scoville Heat Units and now knowing its strength, a lot of respect is needed and much risk assessment.

  • What to be cognisant of when cooking with such a chilli?
  • How much to use?
  • What happens if we use too much or too little?
  • When will we start to use this in our cooking?
  • How often to check the taste and adjust temperature, other ingredients?
  • At the end when clearing up, what to do with any leftover ingredients?

Project delivery

It is the same with project work. We will commence the project and consider the risks. Examples come to mind such as do we have enough resources? Is there sufficient budget for the project to be delivered? Could the time-frame be too short or too long? If it is too long will there be a problem with inertia? Have we considered how best to motivate the team? Is the project dependent on technology which is in an early stage of development?


Risk assessment deserves respect. At initiation seasoned professionals may fall into the trap of thinking they have seen it all before. Those new to the project world have happy ears thinking nothing really could go wrong. Let us remember The Carolina Reaper. What would be the impact if you put it in your mouth to eat raw? One imagines a burning sensation, tightening of the throat, swelling of the tongue, eyes watering, mouth on fire, reaching for milk to cool the mouth, take away the pain.

A similar thing, figuratively speaking, could occur if you have not done your risk assessment at initiation and during the project. The Project Executive, Programme Director and other senior individuals will start to put pressure on you. Questions will be asked. Your credibility brought into doubt. Your position in the organisation put under threat. This would create a burning sensation in the mind and make for an unpleasant time.

Remember the Carolina Reaper: risk assessment and risk management is important for your health and your professional well-being.

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John Chapman

Written by:

John Chapman

Programme Director