Caramel queen Misty Walsh's homemade creations have been keeping our bellies round and happy at Jim & Jane for some time now. We sat down with Misty to talk about sustainability in the food industry, icecream nostalgia, and creative ways to cook with her caramel.
You make the most amazing salted caramel we’ve ever eaten! What did you do before you made peoples tummies happy?
I was working full time in international recruitment when I started Misty’s Salted Caramel (back then it was just called ‘Salted Caramel Sauce’). It was never meant to become anything more than a side hustle; I would cook in the evenings after work and go to local markets on weekends. Some weekends I’d have markets on both Saturday and Sunday with no days off…a hard slog but somewhat required when you’re trying to get something off the ground.
Where do you call home?
I live in Melbourne but grew up in Adelaide and the pull to return to my roots is getting greater and greater. Our plan is to set up a bigger cooking operation for Misty’s Salted Caramel in Adelaide and move back sometime next year.
We love the chilli caramel with good quality vanilla gelato, tinned pineapple, fresh mint and a hint of fresh chilli as a dinner party hit…what’s your go to combo? Do you have any recipes that use your caramels for our readers?
Oh yum! I’m going to have to give that one a try. I love hearing how people use the sauce. I think my favourite recipe is this apple slice. There’s a decent layer of the caramel over the biscuity base and then topped with apples and flaked almonds. The edges where the caramel oozes down are so gooey and delicious, I’ve put the recipe here on my website.
Do you have any more flavours in the pipeline or collabs?
The Apple Pie Collab with Gewürzhaus has been really successful so we’re looking to experiment with some more of their amazing flavours and spices. I think something for Christmas is on the cards! We’ve also worked with the guys at Byron Bay Peanut Butter Co and we’re always thinking of the next peanut butter/salted caramel combo.
When you were a child what was your favourite ice cream flavour? Do you think memories of great food experiences shape your inspiration and brand?
I’m not sure it’s available in other states but we grew up in South Australia with Golden North’s honey ice cream. We would melt it down and mix chopped Cherry Ripe and Violet Crumble through it then re-freeze. It was well before Cold Rock was a thing! I have been brought up in a total foodie family. My Nanna was an amazing baker and her legacy lives on in recipes that we still cook. My parents travelled extensively and brought back exotic food ideas, always entertaining and cooking for friends. I have fond memories of their dinner parties back when that’s what people did in the 80’s and 90’s. Both my siblings are foodies too, my sister has a jam and relish business (Fiaje) and my brother has a blog ‘Trade It For Bacon’ although I think parenthood has taken priority of late. Needless to say our family dinners are pretty elaborate. So if I was ever going to start a food business it had to be of a high standard to get my family’s approval!
"My parents travelled extensively and brought back exotic food ideas, always entertaining and cooking for friends. I have fond memories of their dinner parties back when that’s what people did in the 80’s and 90’s"
We like re-using your jars for homemade pickles, what do you do to remain environmentally conscious at work?
It’s so important for us all to do our part. Sourcing local ingredients and suppliers is vital to reduce food miles and where possible our packaging for orders is either reused or recycled. Given our small scale operation our carbon footprint is tiny and when we look to set up a bigger facility I don’t want this to be compromised. I’m fairly lucky that my partner is a Sustainability Consultant so we plan to scale up whilst aiming for carbon neutrality. He’s got lots of great innovations and ideas for this!
What music do you like listening to?
Our household starts the day with ABC Classic, it’s a really relaxing and calming way to start the day. During the day I listen to podcasts while I cook and in the evenings we’re more likely to have music playing than the TV on. Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel, Nightmares On Wax are on a fairly heavy rotation.
I’ve just finished American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and could not put it down. I find getting into a new book really hard. I tried ‘The Way of The Superior Man’ but struggled to get into it. I think with everything that’s going on in the world I’m really looking for fiction for escapism. Big big fan of Liane Moriarty.
What kitchen tool can you not live without?
My AirPods! Like I said earlier, I listen to podcasts non stop throughout the day. It’s a nice way to make the working day go a little faster, things can get a little repetitive otherwise!
Who would you like to meet?
Julie Bishop would be fascinating. I’d talk to her about growing up in Adelaide, current affairs and of course fashion! She’s one smart lady with exceptional style.
Going out or staying in? If it's going out – where is your favourite place to eat? Staying in..what's your go to dish?
Oh I need such a good balance of both. At the moment there’s a lot of staying in. Surprisingly I’m actually a terrible cook; baking I can do but I don’t really enjoy cooking dinners. I’ve used this lockdown time to explore cooking. We’re trying out lots of new soups at the moment given we’re in the middle of winter. Benjamin Law recently tweeted a recipe for cauliflower and vegemite soup – it’s so simple and tastes bloody good! My favourite restaurant is our local Italian Tacco & Tosca for the food and atmosphere.
Where would you like to go on holidays next?
We were due to be in the Greek Islands in September for a wedding. Our plan was to fly into Serbia and bike ride down to Greece but obviously with all of the travel restrictions that’s not going ahead. It’s a great opportunity to see more of our own country and support the regional areas who have had a shocking start to the year. When we can eventually travel overseas I think a bike ride through the French or Italian countryside will be on the to do list.
What is a great piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay in your own lane.
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the AM, herbal tea in the PM.
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