About the McCormick EMEA Culinary Team


Lee Williams - Head of Culinary Innovation

“I am extremely proud to be leading the talented McCormick EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) culinary team across our Consumer and Flavour Solutions business. A key part of my role is to design and deliver front line innovation and culinary insights for our key customers, as well as drive the strategic culinary agenda. Our culinary chefs spend their time team researching, designing and developing new on-trend products and concepts for our customers using a host of tools from McCormick’s vast resources, drawing on their collective depth of gastronomic experience and vision. We are also a key part of our Global Culinary Council, who are instrumental in creating our annual Global Flavour Forecast®, proposing upcoming flavour trends to keep an eye on for key stakeholders across the worldwide food industry.”

Ask me something flavourful:

What’s your favourite flavour and why?
“I love anything Asian inspired. Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Burmese, deliver all the flavour sensations I could ever want. Sweet, salty, spicy and umami, they have it all.  My grandmother was Burmese, so I grew up around this culture of cooking and big flavours, which has always stayed with me.”

Name the most underused herb, spice or seasoning, in your opinion?
“Galangal. It’s part of the ginger family and adds aromatic, sweet, floral flavours to dishes. It also works in drinks and brings a natural, botanical flavour. It’s a fantastic ingredient and so underused.”

In your opinion, what’s the best flavour paring ever?
“My love of Asian flavours aside, beef and horseradish (I’m a massive Sunday roast fan). Salt and vinegar, a seaside chippy tea brings back nostalgic memories for me. And of course, gin and tonic!”

Hugues Marrec - Senior Research Chef


“I’ve been a cook for almost 30 years in French restaurants around the world and today I’m very proud to be representing the McCormick brand in France. My travels have enabled me to discover the immense variety of cuisines that exist around the world and nurture my passion for herbs and spices.”

“I’m very lucky to have a fantastic role, working with R&D teams, whereby I can continue to travel and grow my knowledge in the countless uses of herbs & spices. I get to inspire others and help create the spice blends of tomorrow.”

“Seeking out new trends, creating new ways with flavours and sharing my knowledge are part of my day to day life.”

Ask me something flavourful

What’s your favourite flavour and why?
“I love bitter flavour”. From raw artichoke leaf to black chocolate through citrus fruits. It’s a flavour that we hate when we are young but grow to love as we get older. It’s a very complex flavour which is amazing in cocktails, but I love to incorporate it into all kinds of dishes, even desserts.”

Name the most underused herb, spice or seasoning, in your opinion?
“The juniper berry. Consumers do not know how to use it and we are afraid of its aromatic power. Juniper is ideal in marinades, with roasted vegetables, fish and meats, or in soup.”

Give an unusual use for a herb or spice
“During the winter, I like to add chilli to my hot chocolate!”

Ivo Canepa - Culinary lead, Italy


“I have spent more than 35 years in various kitchens and it’s fair to say I have a real passion and affection for cooking – even my home kitchen has been transformed into a professional laboratory!

“My point of view on anyone’s culinary adventure is that it should be an emotion; full of aroma, texture, sensation and pleasure, and my job at McCormick is to help create pleasure through food.

“In my daily role I continue to learn and grow, and to discover new ways with flavours, whether I’m exploring using molecular gastronomy, cooking at low temperatures, vacuum cooking, or creating a recipe for the food industry, whether it is frankfurters or croissants!”

Ask me something flavourful

What’s your signature dish for dinner?
“I’d say it’s truffle duck with morel sauce; I love earthy flavours and the combination of morels and truffles in the same recipe is divinely creamy and indulgent. Add duck to the mix and you’ll have a show!”

Stranded on a desert island, what ingredient can’t you do without?
“Obviously it must be an Italian extra virgin olive oil! A good olive oil can transform any dish and take it to a different level, but Parmigiano Reggiano has an amazing combination of intense flavours.”

Give an unusual use for a herb or spice
“Returning to my love for all things Italian, try putting oregano in honey. It’s delicious on bread or stirred into soups.”

Ian Craddock – Consumer culinary lead, UK


“I work closely with the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) consumer innovation, marketing and R&D teams advising on the latest food trend insights and designing delicious products around them.

“Working with McCormick’s global culinary team I also get to participate in the development of the annual Flavour Forecast® which we use when we present to customers so they can stay at the forefront of what’s trending in flavours.

“Aside from all that, I get to propose new products to customers and trade buyers as well as spend a lot of time in our kitchens creating recipes.”

Ask me something flavourful

What’s your favourite flavour and why?
“I love spicy food, so I would have to say chilli. These days people are more aware of the many varieties of chillies and the different flavours they bring. I love the spicy heat of the Scotch bonnet, typically used in Jamaican cooking, or the smoky chipotle which is found in rich Mexican dishes and marinades. Of course I’m also a big fan of Frank’s RedHot® sauce which I use to spice up pretty much anything!”

Latest hot to have flavour?
“Chaat Masala, a traditional Indian street snack spice blend that contains classic Indian spices such as cumin and coriander as well as mango powder, to give a fruity flavour, black salt which has an unusual sulphurous flavour, and Ajwain, a bitter seed with a similar aroma to thyme. It’s been popping up in many modern Indian restaurants lately and I’ve been using it in a variety of ways, from stirring into lemonade, to sprinkling over loaded fries!”

Stranded on a desert island, what ingredient can’t you do without?
“I’d have to have a jar of Schwartz Japanese 7 Spice Seasoning which includes sesame seeds, chillies and citrus. I use it to top stir fry dishes at the end of cooking; it looks fabulous and tastes fantastic, plus you can add extra at the table if you like your dish with a little extra kick!”

Maciej Wawryniuk – Culinary lead, Poland


"Working for McCormick in Poland I get involved in a range of things from supporting new product development to recipe design.

“Culinary workshops and training sessions for key customers, bloggers and chefs, are also part of my remit, as is supporting live and online cooking demonstrations at events and trade fairs, making presentations to customers and product training for our own sales team.”

Ask me something flavourful:

Name the most underused herb, spice or seasoning, in your opinion?
“Tarragon is an amazing herb that is mostly used in classic French cuisine, but it lends itself to an array of dishes, pairing beautifully with tomatoes, plums and peaches, and is actually native to Asia! Its slight aniseed flavour is actually very good in a summery spritz type of cocktail too.”

Give an unusual use for a herb or spice?
“Rosemary, as with most herbs, is underused in desserts. Try making a rosemary cream brûlée by adding a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to the cream before heating. Or, if you want to really turn things upside down, the classic tiramisu with basil will surprise you with its freshness, lightness and new taste. A basil sorbet will make your tastebuds go crazy too!”

Stranded on a desert island, what ingredient can’t you do without?
“Wine would be a must, and not just for the obvious reason! Just think about the variety of wines that are available and the foods they pair with, not to mention the recipes you can create using wine.”

Ask us something flavourful