Wooden spoons filled with spices

Spice it up!

If indeed variety is the spice of life, doesn’t that also mean we should have a variety of spices in our kitchen life?

When you’re cooking along with our chefs, a common thread tying them together is the incredible flavor profiles they create. No matter the menu, our chefs put much thought into every ingredient. When receiving their recipes, know they’ve been experimenting, tasting, refining, not just help us learn but to help us understand what amazing tastes like.

The five basic tastes—sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami—result from a chemical reaction between food in the mouth reacting with taste buds. Part science, part artform, it’s front and center in all classes, sometimes it’s very obvious, sometimes really subtle. Truly the sign of culinary genius.

My dried savory spice pantry used to be in a word: B-O-R-I-N-G. A variety of salts, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, oregano and sesame seeds that I must confess I only used in baking. But now, like a breath of fresh air, our culinary professionals are opening new flavor worlds.

• Allspice: A cured, unripe berry of a Caribbean evergreen tree, allspice has aromatic notes reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use in marinades, stews, barbecue sauce and baked goods.
• Cloves: The aromatic flower buds of an Indonesian tree, common in Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisines, flavoring meats, curries and marinades.
• Truffle Zest: The prized black fungi amps up pasta, pizza, salads, eggs, popcorn and potatoes as well as sauces, soups and dressings.
• Shichimi Togarashi or seven-flavor chili pepper: Japanese seasoning imparting bold, spicy flavors and sweet tang. Use in noddle, meat dishes, rice bowls and stir-fries. All shichimi contain fresh ground chili pepper and Sansho or Szechuan pepper, nori, black or white sesame seeds, ginger, orange zest, hemp seed and/or poppy seed.
• Epazote: An herb native to Mexico and Central America, the green, leafy epazote is renowned for its bold herbal profile of hints of oregano and mint. Use in moles, bean dishes and rustic stews and soups.

Our rockstar chefs love to talk food, share their knowledge for all things culinary, even solve your kitchen dilemmas!

It’s time to think about breaking out of your spice comfort zone and well, spice it up! I’d love to hear what you’re trying.

Wishing you joy in the kitchen,


Sunshine Salad
Yield: 2 servings

1 medium orange
2 medium carrots, washed, trimmed and finely grated
Half small red onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 generous pinches cumin seeds
1-2 pinches chili flakes, crushed
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

1. Peel and remove the peel and pith from the orange and discard, then cut the orange into thin slices and place in a large bowl.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients except the mint leaves and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then toss together. Sprinkle with the mint then serve.

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