"Chef's Spice Mixtures Turns Into Big Business..."
The Oakland Press /Associated Press
"Richards Blends Are Something Of A Sensation..."
The Detroit Free Press
"One Time Restauranteur Turns his Delicious Hobby into Thriving Business..."
The Lansing Journal
"Davisburg Man Savors the Spice of Life..."
Grand Rapids Journal
"Chef Shows Wizardry at Creating Marinades..."
"Former Chef Becomes Alchemist of Flavor in Spice Business"
The Detroit News July 24, 2001
FORMER CHEF BECOMES ALCHEMIST OF FLAVOR IN SPICE BUSINESS
By Ron Krueger
Journal Food Writer
From the factory he built in the basement of his home in Davisburg, Mickey Richards orchestrates a ‘world sensory tour’.
The former chef and restaurateur, an alchemist of flavor, blends spices from many parts of the planet. He has developed 20 different blends which contain no salt, MSG or other agents.
The mixtures are sold under the name Mickey & T’s Gourmet Rubs and Spices, with “T” being his wife, Theresa.
Several dishes made with Richard’s blends were something of a sensation at the Flint Art Fair in June. ‘The people there loved the Great Garlic blend and the Chicken Rub. We sold out of almost every bottle”, he says.
Six of his blends are meant to be used with specific foods, those being, Chicken, Fish, Beef, Veggies, Ribs and Wild Game meats. He recently added All American Season, which he compare to McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning. But, he adds matter-of-factly, ”Mine are better, they have far too much salt and pepper, where ours has only the slightest hint of Sea Salt (1%).
For the perfectly grilled steak ( he prefers a good Rib Eye cut) Richards suggests generously brushing both sides of the steak with oil and rubbing one side with the All American (Steak Heaven) and the other side with the Great Garlic (Steak Nirvana).
His method for preparing baby-back ribs is to rub the rack (meat side only) with his Rib Rub. Put them in a shallow pan, with a little water, in a 450◦F oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 F and bake for 4-6 hours. “Do not cover or turn the ribs, and please, NEVER parboil them first” Richards said. He also add that the Rib Rub works well on chicken wings and pork chops or roasts.
Several of the other blends are tied to the region. These are called simply A Taste of ….France, Greece, India, Louisiana, Mexico, Jamaica and Italy.
The France blend, also known as Herb’s d’ Provence, includes lavender, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage and savory. “I tend to use more lavender than most as it makes the blend more aromatic”.
Richards Taste of India is a masala or mild blend, the spices usually used in Tandoori dishes. This involves cooking in a clay oven at a very high temperature . The blend typically includes coriander, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. It is also available in a very spicy version.
Other “warm” blends are- Louisiana, Jamaica and Mexico and are fired by cayenne, Habanero, and Scotch Bonnets, respectively.
“When people ask if these blends are very hot, I tell them they are not over powering. They are well balanced with a lot of flavor. They are concentrated so only a small amount is needed”.
Richards, 52, says the cottage business is an outgrowth of his 30 years in the restaurant business. But it was only meant to be a hobby, in part to accommodate he and his wife who both need to avoid sodium. “I tried a lot of the commercial, salt free blends, but didn’t think much of them. I wanted a good blend with garlic, but couldn’t find one I liked- so I made my own. I kept on experimenting and before long it wasn’t a hobby anymore…”
Mickey & T’s spices are available in numerous markets around the state, some of which are Rudy’s Market on Main Street in Clarkston, and Oliver T’s on Hill Street in Grand Blanc. The spices can also be purchased on line at www.saltfreerubs.com or call (248) 634-3397 and ask for Mickey or T.
When starting out, Richards grew a lot of his own herbs, but that became impractical as sales increased, he says, “The quantities of many things I’m using dictate that I buy from a supplier. I could never grow enough garlic. I am buying it in 100 pound bags out of California”.
Richards was born in the Boston area, lived in Los Angeles and lived and worked in Boston for a number of years before moving to Springfield Township in 1996. He said his wife wanted to be closer to her family in the Clarkston area where she grew up.
The Palm Beach Post Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Retired Chef to the Stars Now a GreenMarket Spice girl
By Victoria Malmer
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer