Inspired living

A Q&A with Ian Hemphill from Herbie's Spices

WellBeing shares a Q&A with Ian Hemphill from Herbie's Spices

Credit: Herbie's Spices

We speak to Ian Hemphill from Herbie’s Spices. The blends and spice mixes made at Herbie’s Spices contain no fillers, starches, MSG or additives of, so you are ensured products of quality and flavour. Here, Herbie shares his story.

How did your brand come to be and when?

Having grown up in a herb and spice family in the 1960’s, Herbie has been my nickname since my last days at school, so when we opened our business on the 7th of July 1997 we decided to simply call it Herbie’s Spices, because that’s what they are!

What was the initial vision for your brand? Has that changed over time?

Our strategy was to have the largest range of culinary herbs, spices and spice blends, to always source the best quality available & only sell spice blends we make ourselves from scratch, and to give cooks advice which led to the books I’ve written. We only sell through independent specialty stores and on-line. You won’t see Herbie’s Spices in the major supermarket chains.

Our strategy has not changed in 22 years.

Where did the brand name come from?

My nickname, as explained above.

What/Who are your products suitable for?

Everyone who cooks and appreciates great, natural flavours.

What are some of your favourite products in your range?

Green Cardamom Pods, Ras el Hanout, Rose Harissa, Berbere, Baharat, Shichimi Togarashi, Australian native Desert Oak Seeds, and all our curries. It is a bit like asking someone to name your favourite grandchild!

Where do you source your ingredients?

Wherever we can source the best. Primarily India, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico,

Can you tell us a little more about the ingredients in your products? Why is this important?

Through spices, nature provides an incredible variety of colours, textures, aromas and flavours that add interest and depth to our meals.  The many and varied flavours in spices are held in the volatile oils that naturally occur in spices.  Some of these flavours are apparent in the fresh spice, for example in ginger. Other spices either change or only develop their true flavour on drying.  One dramatic example is vanilla, a green tasteless bean that grows on a tropical climbing orchid.  It is only after drying and curing that the enzyme reactions which take place, actually forming the vanilla flavour.  In a similar manner, when peppercorns are picked green, the enzyme reaction that occurs upon drying, turns them black and creates the black pepper flavour we all know so well.

As Agricultural commodities, the quality of spices will be influenced by the experience of growers, the soil and climatic conditions where they are gown, the harvesting and post-harvesting practices, cleaning, packing, shipping, grinding and finally packaging and storage.

What’s next for your brand?

Continuing to search for special spice ingredients from around the world, and developing more 100% natural spice blends to meet the taste expectations of contemporary cooks. Most new blends we develop are as a result of cooks contacting us and saying things like “I had an amazing Cambodian Fish Curry while in Cambodia, can you make a blend so it can be easily made?” So we did!

For more, visit herbies.com.au