No not THAT kooky*. You know Willy Wonka - mad chocolate factory owner who put a bunch of naughty children through their paces by testing them with wonderfully tempting treats and tasty wonderments.
Yeeesss! Thats him. Well it turns out Green and Blacks (the organic chocolate company) have been hiding their very own Willy Wonka down there in Berkeley Square. Well a Willy Wonka of sorts. They have in their employ a rather nice chap named Micah Carr-Hill whose job it is to taste and develop new chocolate products - their 'Head of Taste'. That would have to be up there with the best jobs in the world I think you'd agree.
Yep thats one happy guy. Well wouldn't you be??
And Micah was why I was asked to head to Miele show rooms on Monday night for a special event. Green and blacks it seems are looking for a extraordinary person to assist Micah in his duties - be his chief oompah loompah if you will. And the green and blacks oompah loompahs have devised a series of tasty tests and tribulations (sound familiar?)
Now me.. I'm more your Augustus Gloop type of guy. First room... river of chocolate, I'm swimming in it and up the pipes. So I'm pretty sure I'd be unsuitable for such a job.
But many of my fellow bloggers were up for some trials and tribulations and took on the '15:15' challenge: "Create a dish in 15 minutes, with a budget of £15 that'll tickle Micah's taste buds". The idea being Micah will taste all of the dishes in masterchef style and award the best demonstration of palate.
Cue a room full of sexy miele kitchen units and feisty food fanatics whipping up taste sensations all over the place. Participants including The London Foodie, Meemaalee, Feed & Gastro, Feast On Scraps, Food For Think, Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, Kavey Eats, Fernandez and Leluu all whipped up various delights. It was a food p*rn extravaganza and great to watch. And the crowd supplied many oohs and ahhhs in all the right places.
I also had a great time meeting many fellow bloggers and talking chocolate, media, politics and supper clubs including Greedy Diva, Catalan Cooking, Mostly About Chocolate and the double prize winning, doubly lovely Meemalee
Here was Meelamee's winning dish of enoki mushrooms with salmon roe on linguine, who also won a second taste challenge by picking the correct secret flavour notes in some chocolate ganache. What a palate!
And here's proof that Micah hated it...
Incidentally you are interested in becoming Willy Wonka's assistant you can apply here.
I must also acknowledge the awesome culinary abilities of all of the 15:15 participants. Every dish was outstanding and was extremely delectable.
And thanks of course to Green and blacks and their many oompah loompahs who put on such a great event - in particular their most wonderful Onemilliongoldstars who rallied the troops and got such a great turnout. Gail also stuffed fist fulls of chocolate in my coat pocket and made Augustus Gloop here very happy as I tumbled out the room and up the pipe...
* This may be yet more poof of my poor taste and unsuitability for the job of taste assistant