Bob’s Red Mill

Our foodie-driven culture and society is one where producers entice consumers with gourmet delights and healthy treats that follow what they mutually perceive to be the next industry trend or fashion.  I often use this forum to talk to food producers about their new, innovative products that broadly or loosely fall into this category.  However, there are established brands with longevity and gravitas that are often taken for granted, and remind me of why I get excited about food.  Bob’s Red Mill is definitely one such brand.

In a world of low carb and keto diets, where carbohydrates have often been demonised; Bob’s Red Mill loudly and proudly champions a whole grain diet, rich in complex carbohydrates.  Bob’s Red Mill was set up in 1978 by Bob Moore in Milwaukie, Oregon; and was born out of the belief that eating whole grains and natural foods was beneficial and essential to achieve good health.  Aside from producing healthy foods, one of the core values of the business is that they share their ownership and profits with their staff.

Fast forwarding to 2019, Bob’s Red Mill now has global distribution of an exhaustively broad range of natural foods, ranging from flours and whole grains, to baking mixes and wholesome snack bars.  They also have specialist product ranges that cater to the culinary needs of people who follow paleo-friendly and gluten free diets.

I was honoured to recently meet Bob Moore, one of my food heroes.  He told me the story of how he established his business. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.

True Masa

Mexican food is a popular cuisine for both home cooks and restaurant diners alike. Mexico has a rich, ancient cultural history which is inextricably linked to its culinary heritage. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The arrival of the Spanish and subsequent immigrants has brought many new foods and cooking techniques to Mexico.

Since the pre-Hispanic period, some of the core ingredients used have been and remain corn, beans and chili peppers. Dried corn, via a long, complex process known as nixtamalisation, is softened, ground and transformed into a corn dough known as masa. Masa forms the basis of many staples in the Mexican diet such as corn tortillas, chilaquiles and tamales.

Corn tortillas are soft flat breads that are an essential part of the Mexican dinner table and are served as accompaniments to most dishes. In the UK, due to the complexities of producing masa, these tortillas are generally made out of dried masa that is made into a flour called masa harina.

Hence, I was really excited to discover a London-based company called True Masa who use masa to produce both fresh and vacuum-packed corn tortillas using traditional Mexican ingredients, methods and equipment. I spoke to Alastair Westwood, the General Manager of True Masa, who told me the story of his company. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.

ChicP

Food waste related to food surpluses is rife in the UK, and is very much part of a global epidemic. Many large and small companies are trying to make a difference by finding innovative solutions and ways of tackling this preventable issue.

During a visit to Whole Foods Market on High Street Kensington, while browsing their extensive hummus section, I was really excited to discover a brand called ChicP, that is making use of surplus vegetables, to produce a range of unique, vibrant coloured hummuses. With flavour combinations like carrot, ginger and turmeric; and beetroot,horseradish and sage, hummus purists may question the authenticity of these products and whether they are really hummus. However, to me, their flavour combinations, and use of fresh produce sounded fantastic and sang to my taste buds. And yes…, they were as delicious as they sounded!

I spoke to Hannah McCollum, the founder of ChicP, who told me the story about her company. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.