Week 6 Winning Recipe

Garth Midgley talks about the inspiration behind his 'Chocorn' recipe that has been 10 years in the making...

What’s the inspiration behind your recipe, and can you recall the moment the idea was born?

Around 10 years ago I was sitting in a cinema, eating my movie snacks during the previews (as you do) and I must have been pretty hungry as I ended up eating my popcorn and choctop ice-cream together. What seemed like a weird food combo to me at the time turned out to be incredibly tasty. I couldn't believe that this ‘gold class of popcorn’ snack didn't exist yet.



Who do you think your recipe is perfect for?

Chocorn is snack that appeals to a lot of different people. Even people that aren't usually fans of popcorn love it and compare the air popped popcorn inside to a light wafer. All of the different flavour combo’s really offer something for everyone; cross culture, both women and men and from the young to the young at heart. I don’t often get knocked back when I offer someone my Chocorn.

How has your recipe evolved since the first time you made it, and what were the challenges of preparing a commercial quantity?

My first years of making Chocorn were all about toffee and chocolate and getting that combo right. Then over the years I experimented with hundreds of different flavours and combinations. It always amazes me how just a slight adjustment here or there can turn something that’s just okay into something that’s amazing. I love nutmeg and was sure it would be great with Chocorn, but on its own it wasn't enough. I paired with other spices until I found Mace, and that combination of nutmeg and mace, turned out to be a magical match up.

What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges?

Move fast, learn fast. The batch up was such a crazy day and working in a commercial kitchen with other worldly equipment was a completely new experience for me. It was manic, but a lot of fun!

What was the most surprising thing you learnt about the process of turning a recipe into a commercial product?

It’s one thing to make your recipe at home when you do everything by hand and can make it all ‘just so’, but that just doesn't work at a commercial scale. Finding that balance between the hand-made quality and large volume can be really tough. Having the experts on hand to help out with this was invaluable.

From your experience, what advice would you give someone who has an idea but doesn't know where to start trying to make a success out of it? 

Read, ask and listen. With so much social media connectivity and information online these days, it’s easier than ever to seek out stories and people who have been through a similar process. Read as many articles as you can find, and get out there and find people who have been through the process. You’ll often be surprised at how willing people are to help out and share their experience and sage wisdom. Especially if you shout a coffee or free lunch ;)

You have to be realistic, objective (as tough as that can be sometimes) and REALLY listen. Especially if the advice is going against what you may have thought or hoped. You tend to learn more from people with a contrary view than those that agree with you. If you can convince the doubters, then chances are you could be onto a good thing. And if it turns out that your idea isn't as good as you may have at first expected, then best to find that out as early as possible so that you can put your time and money into your next idea.

What does the future hold for yourself and your recipe? Any other great ideas in the pipeline you could give us a taster of?

I love working with chocolate and I have so many awesome Chocorn flavour combo’s ready to go and a heap more in the wings that I want to test out and explore. It would be a dream to be able to continue developing, growing and evolving Chocorn for years to come.  Ultimately, I’d love for Chocorn to become the next great Aussie food invention (Hmm, maybe I need to do a pavlova Chocorn!) and it’d be great to see it export all around the world.

One of my experiments at the moment is combining Chocorn with cheesecake. I love the sweetness and tartness of cheesecake and think that It’ll work awesomely with Chocorn. I’m yet to get that flavour balance that makes your tongue water, your eyes go wide in amazement and that make it difficult to stop eating them, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.