Forget screaming frenzies over One Direction or Taylor Swift in this house. Not withstanding that my boy rocker would rather poke out his eardrums with a rusty fork than listen to either of them (much to this punk mama’s eternal gratitude), it is actually superstar chefs and food gurus that get his little heart started. I mean, this is a kid who loves a cooking show as much as he loves a ninja turtle… especially if said cooking show involves a little travel!
But much to Raffles disappointment, things have been a little quiet on the foodie travel show scene of late. So when he heard that one of his food heroes, Aussie spice impresario Ian “Herbie” Hemphill, along with the lovely Lyndey Milan, was heading on a quirky culinary road trip around Australia for a new TV Series, Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast, Raffles got a little excited. When I told him he could actually meet and interview the man himself, he had conniptions!
So my giddy boy, armed with a long list of questions, heads into an Aladdin’s cave of spices at Herbie’s in Balmain (between snorting cinnamon and filling up his mama’s shopping bag with all manner of fragrant delights) to wax philosophic with Ian Hemphill himself about herbs, spice and the new show…
Over to the boys…
My mama told me that you’ve been working with herbs and spices since you were a kid like me. How young were you when you started?
I was about 10 when I started helping my dad pick and dry herbs.
What exactly is the difference between a herb and a spice?
A herb is the leaf of the plant and a spices can come from any other part, such as buds, bark, berries and seeds.
You have about a million different spices and herbs in your shop, do you have a favourite?
I actually have around 100 different herbs and spices, and then over 100 spice blends. My favourite spice is cardamom and my favourite blend is Fragrant Sweet Spice.
I like chilli a lot. What is the hottest chilli you can get and what can you make with it?
Habanero is one of the hottest chillies, and I like to use this in a hot Vindaloo Curry.
What is your favourite spicy meal?
For a quick spicy meal, I find it hard to beat Nasi Goreng.
I like Nasi Goreng too. I love food with lots of spice but most kids I know don’t seem to like them as much. Is there a spice you think is a good one for kids to try so they can see that spices are good?
My grandchildren have been raised on Ras el Hanout which adds a lovely flavour to most meals. I suggest starting kids on spices like cinnamon, sweet paprika, ground coriander seed and the tiniest pinch of cardamom with fruit.
I like watching food shows and your new show looks really good and I can’t wait to watch it. What was the funnest thing about making your own TV Show?
Visiting a snail farm in the Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland.
Ooh, I love snails with lots of garlic and butter. What was the yummiest dish you ate for the show?
Ginger, Cardamom and Mango Crepes that we made on a Buderim ginger farm.
I think that sounds really awesome. I met some aboriginal people once who taught me about bush tucker. Do you use indigenous spices or herbs on the show?
We did use some, especially lemon myrtle as it is readily available and a good way for people to start using a native herb or spice.
My mum makes these crazy good chicken wontons with lemon myrtle which I really love, do you have a favourite indigenous spice or herb?
Snap! Mine is also lemon myrtle.
I think about food all the time and like to find out about different flavours from around the world. Do you think kids should learn more about where food comes from?
I think this is very important, as when you know where your food is coming from and how it was produced, you will be set up to make sensible, healthy and also very tasty and satisfying meals for the rest of your life.
Raffles’ Mama concurs!
Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast is running over the next eight weeks at 2.30pm, Saturdays on 7TWO.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Raffles was excited by the opportunity to meet Ian Herbie Hemphill, one of his food heroes, and he wanted to share.