The Spice Companion: A must have in every kitchen
Lior Lev Sercarz. A master spice blender, chef and the owner of the famed La Boîte Spice Company (located in Hells Kitchen) is a poet when it comes to speaking about the significance of using spices in the food one loves. On Wednesday, March 1, I was fortunate enough to attend an intimate event at Cardinal Spirits where Lior talked about his latest creation, The Spice Companion, A guide to the world of spices.
Lior was born and raised in Israel evidentially ending up in New York (as he mentioned in our class, all stories include a woman and this one was no different…). His recollection of the first foods he tasted in New York had shades of green and brown color and a texture of mush. It is moments like this that have influenced his passion to bring personality and taste back to food.
Spice is produce, it is grown, it is harvested. Spicy should not be confused as hot. Season with salt and pepper should actually be season with sodium and heat. These are a few of the topics Lior discusses in depth in his new book. His philosophy is simple. Make spice fit your lifestyle. Put aside what you think you know and challenge yourself to figure out flavors you like, educate your self. Smell your spices, taste your spices, and most of all use spices to inspire you. Allow yourself to be transported to another place, another time all while in the comfort of your home kitchen.
He also encourages everyone to expand their spice vocabulary. When you smell or taste the spice what is the first thing that pops into your head? Don’t be afraid to say that first thought. It can be the color purple, or an earthy flavor, maybe even mossy, bitter, oakey - whatever that thought is, that is the way you feel. Don’t discount yourself as everyone has a unique flavor profile and you must embrace it.
Indiana is very fortunate to have had a direct connection with Lior. He and Cardinal Spirits met a few years ago and decided to work together on a spice blend. That spice blend partnership created Cardinal Spirits Terra Botanical Gin. We certainly hope after meeting Lior and knowing the creativity of Cardinal Spirits that there will be more on the horizon for them together. Our taste buds would only be so lucky….
The Spice Companion along with a few other spice books are available on LaBoiteny.com and while you are ordering the book, make sure you grab some of Lior’s famous biscuits. You will not be disappointed!
If you are in New York City, make sure you stop by La Boîte.
La Boîte | 724 11th Avenue | New York, NY