It is no surprise our spice merchants are passionate about cuisine, but there's more we'd like to know about them. That's why we're excited to launch a new series called Meet the Merchants. Learn more about the people behind the world's finest spices and discover their favorite spices, recipes, and hobbies.
Q: What’s a favorite spice you've discovered since starting at The Spice House?
A: Red Kampot Peppercorns
Kampot peppercorns from Cambodia carry a strict regional designation, much like Champagne. This red variety starts out with a subtle, jasmine-like sweetness which opens up to a subtler heat. Right now we are offering the rarer dark-red variety, which has more developed fruity, floral, and citrus, flavors. Each Kampot red peppercorn is hand-selected at peak ripeness for superior color and flavor.
Q: What’s your favorite Spice House blend?
A: Baharat or Berbere
Just as South Asia has garam masala and North Africa has ras el hanout, the Middle East's all-purpose spice blend is baharat. Often added to frying onions to release its fullest flavor, this mix of paprika, black pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves, chiles, cinnamon, and cardamom is a superb spice rub for grilled or roasted lamb. It is also a popular seasoning for kofta, chicken kebabs, and many vegetable recipes.
Amharic for pepper, berbere forms the flavor base of classic Ethiopian dishes such as doro wot and misir wot. Like baharat and ras el hanout, it is ubiquitous in the land, but flavor composition varies from region to region, and even from household to household. WE cannot reveal every single ingredient in our berbere spice recipe, but we can tell you it’s mixed with plenty of paprika, onion, garlic, fenugreek leaves, and shallots.
Q: What’s your can't-live-without spice?
A: Old Quebec Butcher’s Rub
Quebec is beloved for maple syrup, poutine, and, among insiders, its beef. Be it smoked brisket at a Montreal deli or a slow roast cooked outside on a snowy day, you can almost taste it as you cross the border. This rub is tangy, peppery, and garlicky, with a touch of cracked coriander. One of our favorite grilling dishes is New York strip steaks marinated in red wine with a heavy coating of this blend. Soak the steaks for half an hour before grilling...delicious!
Q: Who’s your biggest culinary inspiration?
A: My Dad
Q: What’s your go-to culinary resource?
A: America's Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated cooking channel
Q: If you could cook with anyone, who would it be?
A: Aaron Franklin
Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Smoked or grilled chicken
Q: What’s your most cherished recipe?
A: Moroccan Chicken
Willie's Moroccan Grilled Chicken Thighs
Q: If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Kool & The Gang Summer Madness
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Chicago White Sox
Q: What TV show or movie could you watch on repeat forever and still not get tired of it, and why?
A: Martin and In Living Color. 90's Prime black television at its best!
Q: What’s the best thing that has happened to you so far this week?
A: A good friend got engaged
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: Seychelles because it is diverse and by the water
Q: If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
Q: What job would you be terrible at?