Chilli Gourmets combines my enthusiasm for both cooking and chilli growing. There is a truly huge diversity of chillies in the world but to date only a very few varieties are commonly used in traditional cuisine or alternatively they are only grown and used locally in their countries of origin. And whilst it is no longer a problem to find spicy food in the UK the beauty, aromas and flavours of different chilli varieties can rarely be found in our cooking and are almost non-existent in fine dining.
My mission is to not only change the perception of the chilli pepper in gastronomic circles but also to promote and encourage the use of more rare and unusual varieties and in addition, where possible, to have them locally grown in Britain. Up until now the chilli has never had a particularly good image in “Haute Cusine”. Apart from some rare exceptions such as the French Piment d’Espelette you will not often find chilli peppers used in top restaurant creations. Whilst most chefs would not hesitate to make liberal use of sweet peppers in their cooking many of them shy away from the chilli in the belief that it will disrupt the delicate balance of their dishes or simply offend their diners.
I want to promote the chilli pepper as a culinary ingredient. Apart from the many milder chilli varieties that exist the heat of chillies can be mastered to good effect with the right techniques, proportions and balance within a dish. There are so many stunningly beautiful varieties that exist with a huge diversity of colours, textures, flavours and aromas that can be successfully introduced into a myriad of dishes.