Award winning producer
Michael Price of Prices Spices is an entrepreneur in his 40’s, who has distinguished himself in the Chilli scene within the United Kingdom by achieving no fewer than 21 Great Taste awards and two Foodie awards. Amongst the many Great Taste Awards, Michael also achieved the top accolade of a Golden Fork award from the Guild of Fine food in 2021. He was also the 2016 winner of the new business category from the Leamington business awards.
Great Taste awards are awarded to only the very best foods (including sauces) in the United Kingdom( and other countries around the world) . They are awarded by the Guild of Fine food after a rigorous judging process in which the sauces are blind tested by elected chefs, cooks, buyers, retailers, restaurateurs, food critics and writers. The judges consider the texture, appearance of the product and quality of ingredients. They also take aroma and bite into consideration, but of paramount importance is the taste of the products.
Similarly, the Foodie Awards are a food and drinks awards program for Coventry and Warwickshire to celebrate the makers, creators and providers of excellent food, drinks and hospitality experiences. Micheal’s award falls under the Artisan food producers category which as Foodie awards put it ” recognises an artisan food producer who really does have the wow factor”
How it all started
Sowing the seed
Michael’s entry into the Chilli world began when a friend told him about some Chilli seeds, he had been given as a marketing handout from Wahaca (a Mexican restaurant chain). His friend was keen to start growing some Chillies. The idea also appealed to Michael and before long he found himself buying seeds for varieties like Cayenne’s, Hungarian Hot Waxes, Scotch bonnets and Jalapenos to do just that.
Michael planted the seeds and, unlike most novice Chilli growers, had a bumper crop. Faced with this abundance he needed to find something to do with them. This resulted in him using his formidable cooking skills to create a Spicy piccalilli and his first Chilli sauce – Haitian Sensation.
He asked some work colleagues to taste them. They were massively impressed and joked that he should start a business to make Chilli products. This got Michael thinking. He decided to create a range of sauces and jams to see whether they would sell. After spending a couple of months perfecting his existing products and creating two Chilli jam products (Horner’s Aftermath and Thaitalian Tingler Chilli jam) and also adding a new Chilli sauce – Italian Stallion to the range – Michael now had a range of five products.
He then decided to have a go at selling them at a food festival in London, London’s first ever Chilli festival called “The Festival of Heat 2013”. Much to his surprise he managed to sell 80 to 90 percent of his products. It was the start of things to come.
The next steps
The making of Prices Spices
From there Michael went on to sell his jams, chutneys and sauces (more as a hobby than anything else) at other food fairs and festivals. For a while he was content doing just that. However, Michael fancied a change of career, he left his full-time job to pursue his own business. It was this event which would propel him into the Chilli world full time.
Now that Michael was in the Chilli sauce business making his products in his kitchen at home no longer “cut the mustard”. He started looking for a commercial kitchen to cook in. After a tip off from a friend that there was a new development which planned have a farm shop as part of the venture. In a true entrepreneurial spirit, Michael didn’t let the time go to waste. He had noticed some polytunnels on the same site, these were in a state of disrepair on the farm where the development was taking place. It did not take Michael long to put two and two together. He decided if he could get the owners of the farm to repair the polytunnels he would have the perfect place to grow Chillies to make his products whilst also promoting locally grown produce that would benefit the farm shop and himself. Between the efforts of the site owners and Michael, the polytunnels one by one were repaired and re-covered, In the season of 2017 Michael grew his first commercial crop.
While the plans to get a chilli farm up and running and his Chillies were growing Michael bought Chillies from local growers as he had to top up his own supplies over the previous couple of years. The Chillies he purchased were Dorset Nagas, Red Habaneros, Aji Limon, Habaneros, Joes Long and Trinidad Moruga Scorpions. These were all to cater for his exiting range of products and other products he was subsequently to add to it.
Since then Michael has extended his range to forty different products including, not only his sauces, jams and pickles but also preserves, spice mixes, chocolate and curry paste. The public love them. He has been selling these products at festivals around the country (including the Dorset Chilli festival) for the last nine-year years.
Many of his sauces, chutneys and jams are legends in their own right, but one particular according to Michael stands out. This product is his India Joywala Chutney. It is a blend of the Dorset Naga Chili, pineapple, cumin, nigella seeds and mustard. The chutney was named after one of the breeders of the Dorset Naga Chilli – Joy Michaud. Joy and her husband Michael developed the Dorset Naga Chilli on their farm in Dorset as a special hybrid. This iconic British Chilli is now world famous
The reason that Michael has great success with his products is certainly not by accident. Not only does he use the best ingredients money can buy, but every element of his products is researched to the Nth degree. No shortcuts at all are taken. Combine that with his evident skill and expert knowledge of spicing and you have a recipe for success.
Michael Price is one of the characters in the Chilli World in the United Kingdom that make it what it is. A fun place to be with lots of interesting people. He is without doubt on his way to greater things. Well done Michael!