The Vegetable Yoda: Charlie Hicks
Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino pay tribute to greengrocer extraordinaire, the late, great food expert Charlie Hicks with help from Jamie Oliver, Gregg Wallace and Raymond Blanc.
Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino pay tribute to greengrocer extraordinaire, the late, great and encyclopaedic Charlie Hicks with help from Jamie Oliver, Gregg Wallace and Raymond Blanc.
Many radio listeners will remember Charlie Hicks as a co-presenter of BBC Radio 4's Veg Talk series, in which listeners phoned in to speak to two great experts of fresh produce. Charlie was a 4th generation, Covent Garden market fruit and veg man, but he was so much more including a great cook, a food scholar and broadcaster.
Charlie, along with Gregg, helped changed British food culture in the 1980s and 1990s. They supplied London's top chefs with fresh produce and helped introduce new flavours and varieties to British tables. Food fashions spread as chefs influenced supermarkets who then made relatively obscure ingredients such as rocket, artichoke and baby beets popular with domestic cooks.
The series Veg Talk, which ran from 1998 to 2005 attracted all of the UK's top named chefs including Jamie Oliver (who described Charlie as a "Vegetable Yoda" and "the Chef's Secret Weapon", Angela Hartnett, Michel Roux Jnr and Cyrus Todiwala. The programme gave Charlie a platform to share his knowledge and expertise of fruit and vegetables, as well as his sharp sense of humour and unique banter with his co-presenter Gregg.
Charlie Hicks passed away in January and all parts of the food industry mourned his loss.
Dan and Sheila tell his food story and explain why he made such an impact on British food culture.
Produced by Dan Saladino.