Food and Libations · Thoughts and Musings

Spice Master: Lior Lev Sercarz’s, The Crazy, Awesome Spice Guy


Woman Down! Well, actually, one arm is down. Last Sunday I insisted upon mowing the lawn. Cut to, the lawn mower stalling out and me pulling the start cord thingy about 20 times until I heard a really gross sound and a felt a searing pain in my right shoulder. Stubbornness= torn rotary cuff. Anywhoo, it is healing nicely, but I am one arm short in the kitchen. Therefore, no pictures taken during cook time as I attempt to whisk, flip, sauté, and stir with my left hand. Soooo, for the next few posts I am going to be highlighting cool stuff about food.

Today’s post highlights an interview that Lior Lev Sercarz did with Food and Wine Magazine about his spice mixing magic. He is a chef turned spice mixer who creates amazing combinations of spices from his Manhattan store. Find the article HERE

Here’s a snippet:

In developing a blend, Sercarz does 50 percent of the work before he even touches a spice, first sitting with pen and paper to sketch out what he hopes to achieve in terms of flavor, color, smell and texture. Once he has ground and blended a trial version, Sercarz employs not his taste buds, or the stove, but his eyes. “It’s easy to judge visually,” he says, “just like if you overcook a piece of meat you can tell by looking—you don’t need to taste.” Only after this period of visual adjustment does Sercarz taste—and he tastes dry. Finally, he’ll put the blend to the test, most often by offering it to a client to cook with.

A Sample of Some spice blends available for purchase at La Boite, Biscuits and Spices. A visit to this site is sure to induce drooling.

Top Spices from La Boite a Epice’s Spice Rack

N.7 Pierre Poivre Named for an 18th-century French horticulturist and spice trader, this floral blend of eight types of peppercorns is good on steak or a log of chèvre. $15 for 2.25 oz.

N.11 Cancale The fennel seed, dried orange peel and fleur de sel in this delicate mix are delicious on baked fish. They’re even better, though, sprinkled on dark chocolate. $15 for 2.75 oz.

N.34 Orchidea The fragrance of this sandy mixture comes in part from orchid root and Sichuan peppercorn. It’s amazing in place of cinnamon sugar on snickerdoodles. $21 for 3 oz.

N.35 Ararat Smoked paprika, fenugreek and urfa biber (an earthy dried Turkish red pepper) can add intense wood-fire flavor to chicken legs and pork ribs. $15 for 2 oz.

N.38 Shabazi Inspired by a Yemeni chile paste, this fiery mix blends green chiles, cilantro and garlic. Try it warmed in olive oil and spooned on roasted potatoes. $15 for 2.5 oz.

N.39 Reims This blend of star anise, crystallized honey, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger can bring an exotic edge to hot cocoa or rice pudding. $15 for 2.5 oz. All available at

Number 7 is MINE. One of my very favorite things is Steak Au Poivre.

I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried these, I’ll update on any I sample.

Bon A Petit!


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