Herb and spice guru Ian Herbie Hemphill will visit Murwillumbah on Thursday.
Herb and spice guru Ian Herbie Hemphill will visit Murwillumbah on Thursday. supplied

Spice guru is coming to town

SPICE up your culinary life at The Modern Grocer in Murwillumbah this Thursday.

Sydney-based herb and spice guru Ian "Herbie" Hemphill will visit the store as part of a tour to promote his specialty spice blends.

Mr Hemphill said this would be his first visit to The Modern Grocer and he would offer tips for giving meals extra flavour with minimal effort.

"I've written books on spices, and have done a lot of talk-back radio in which I've answered questions about them," he said.

"As far as The Modern Grocer I thought 'well if people know I'll be there I might spend a couple of hours answering their questions'.

"It's a great opportunity while travelling up the coast to give some tips, and The Modern Grocer has been a customer of mine for some time."

He said his small, specialty family business had a loyal customer base.

A "big Herbie fan" told My Daily News she was passing the local store recently and noticed it was advertising his visit.

"Wow! This man is incredible," she said in an email.

"He knows everything there is to know about herbs, spices and blends.

"His spices are used on Masterchef (and) My Kitchen Rules just to name a few.

"His products are sold all over the world (and) he also holds a spice tour of India and Sri Lanka every year."

Mr Hemphill said he only dealt with small stores which cared for their customers and avoided selling to large chain supermarkets.

"I've noticed little businesses such as that are doing better than ever."

He said the appeal of herbs and spices was due to the fact they are "completely natural, and come from really interesting places such as Zanzibar, South America and all through Asia".

"With a little bit of spice you can make something really good.

"We always try to remind people spices aren't all hot."

Murwillumbah will be the northernmost stop on his spice tour, after which he will visit Lismore's Pepper Tree Kitchen and The Kitchen Shelf.

He said a popular new blend was lentil and dhal which with a little cumin, coriander, ginger and others brought great tastes from legumes.

And, as temperatures cool, ras el hamoud - a Moroccan spice - could add a very exotic twist to any meal.

Mr Hemphill will visit The Modern Grocer "for a few hours" from noon.

Visit www.themoderngrocer.com/Contact%20Us.html for more information.



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