Following on from our interview with award-winning Chef Tomos Parry, next up is Micah Carr-Hill, a freelance Taste Consultant, who works for Green & Black’s chocolate, amongst others. He is the man responsible for the tastes of most of the iconic chocolate brand’s bars, from their Milk Sea Salt bar to their Dark Chocolate Lemon, which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is pretty impressive. He also worked on the beautiful chocolate of renowned baker’s Pump St, a stand-out bean to bar product.
We first met Micah when he came to visit HM HQ with Green & Black’s to celebrate the launch of their sea salt bar, and have stayed in touch ever since – mainly because we get a few squares of something incredible whenever we see him!
(As a side note, a new series of short videos have just come out to publicise the new Green & Black’s Thin bar range. They include our favourites the Hemsley sisters, Tom Kitchin, and none other then Michel Roux Jnr. Have a watch online here.)
Here we chat Snickers bars, leeks and parmesan.
WHO TAUGHT YOU TO LOVE FOOD?
My mum always cooked proper family meals so that’s where it all started. Once I left for university, I realised that if I wanted to eat well I had to learn how to cook a bit more than the basics and threw myself into it (in lieu of my studies) and taught myself to cook, mainly using Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
My first job whilst still at school was helping out in a local chemist, which is a rather dull answer. My first job in the food & drink industry was with Oddbins in the early nineties. I ended up being there for a few years and got my WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Diploma. This was significant as it was when I realised I had a good palate.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?
I went rather big this morning. I make my own sourdough bread that I tend to bake the night before so I have a fresh loaf in the morning. It’s a three day process so I always have one or two on the go. This morning’s slice of sourdough was adorned with a crisply fried egg (runny yolk, naturally), seasoned with Halen Mon, of course. Along side this was a couple of Rupert’s outstanding rare breed sausages directly from Wood Farm Pigs and I sweetened off with half a Pump Street Bakery Eccles cake, arguably the best in the UK.
WHERE DO YOU GO OUT TO EAT?
I don’t get the opportunity to eat out as much as I used to or would like to due to having young children. Therefore, when I do go out I want it to be somewhere with food that is truly outstanding. My present restaurant of choice is Hedone in Chiswick, London where Chef and owner Mikael Jonsson sources the very best ingredients available and, treating them with utmost respect, produces serious food that is deceptively simple in appearance. In my view, amongst the best cooking in the country.
WHAT’RE YOUR THREE FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS?
Halen Môn, two-year-old Parmesan, preferably from the Ham and Cheese company , unsalted butter.
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY FOOD PLEASURE?
A Snickers, from the fridge, cut into eight slices and generously sprinkled with Halen Mon.
DESCRIBE WALES IN 5 WORDS
I went on holiday to the Llyn Peninsula many times when I was a child and only revisited the area many years later when Alison and David invited me to Anglesey. So, mainly from my childhood memories, I would use the following five words:
Beautiful, beaches, Snowdon, lamb, salt.
WHAT’S THE MOST UNDERUSED INGREDIENT?
Apart from salt (most people under season their food) I would have to say leeks, although their underuse is not so much the case in Wales, I suspect. I get through about a dozen or so a week. It’s one of my favourite vegetables, especially when baked with cream and Parmesan.
WHAT DO YOU EAT WHEN YOU GET IN FROM A LONG DAY AT WORK?
As I work from home I do most of my eating there as well. It also gives me the chance to prepare food during the day, stick a stock on, make bread, etc. Also, I loath waste some I’m constantly making dishes from leftovers, a typical one being leftover meat (assorted), leeks, cauliflower and spinach loosened up with meat juices, cream, white wine and baked with a good grating of parmesan. My wife and I are also partial to quail, simply roasted with plenty of Halen Môn and black pepper and served with their roasting juices and salad.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COOK BOOK?
A very tricky question as I have in excess of 500. If I were pressed, however, I would go for The Complete Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly. This is a compilation of the St. John restaurant’s two books. I love the type of food – very British and all about the finest ingredients, simply cooked – but I also think the photography is brilliant and, probably most of all, Fergus Henderson’s wit and turn of phrase is a treat.
Photos & illustrations: Jess Lea-Wilson