As Stir the Pots reposts past interviews, we thought of Lior Lev Secarz. The man behind Spice Brothers, Lior is a spirit who radiates the humanity and love of life that seems so under attack in the nation where he was raised. Israel.
Stir the Pots is the creation of two Jews, both of whom have Israeli friends they adore, as well as Palestinian. Someday we both hope these two dynamic people find a way to co-exist and shower each other with the same brilliance that they have delivered to the rest of the world – from culture to business to the sciences. And of course the kitchen.
Wonderfully creative, Lior is someone who relishes the flavors, colors and scents of what God’s earth brings us as humans. More specifically, Lior has shared his love of spice in multiple venues as well as books. A few years ago, we put together a short list of questions for Lior. Below are some of his answers. We post them with prayers for peace and better days, nevermind a respite from the violence.
What is the difference with a cook and a spice blender?
Cooks prepare different types of food and dishes. As a spice blender I create spice blends and source single spice that I then sell to cooks to prepare dishes. I use my knowledge of over 20 years as a cook to create spice blends.
How were you drawn into the culinary arts?
I loved food and cooking from an early age. I always felt very happy eating and cooking so making it into a job was very easy for me. We traveled a lot as kids around the world and I think that also helped.
If you put too much seasoning into food, how can you fix that mistake or are you headed into a brick wall?
You can try adding acid to tone it down but sometimes it is just took late.
How do your spices cut the guesswork or highlight palate senses?
Spice blends allow you to elevate every dish very quickly without too much effort. It can take the simplest preparation to the next level even without cooking. The blends add scent, taste and textures.
Is Israeli cuisine distinguishable or a hybrid of cross-cultural diaspora on a plate?
It is a unique mix of many cultures and influences. It is very simple, full of flavor, bold and exciting filled with fresh ingredients.
European cuisines, from Alsace to Rome have an imprint on some of their most well known dishes from Jews, foie gras, artichokes and is that recognized?
You can find many hints of European cuisines on Jewish and Israeli food. The fact that jews lived and still live around the world has a lot to do with it.
Today our Ashkenazi Delis are a bygone era. What is new Jewish food taste?
I think Askenazi food is still a thing and might become the next thing soon after the Sepharadic wave.
Can spice be multi and cross-cultural or can too much be confusion?
I make blend like I create dishes. It has to have a story, a purpose and hopefully layers. It is meant to be used always in as many possible preparations without any specific culture or ethnic dish.
Like Magellan, you are introducing spices to a land like America that can be rather plain, who is best equipped to use your products?
Anyone can use our spices and blends. This is one of the main things we try to show. You can use them everyday on anything.
Tell us about La Boite. You have new projects sprouting?
La Boite has been around for 13 years, spreading the love of spices and good food. We continue every year to add new blends and single spices and show that there are endless ways to use spices.
You put out some wonderful books, is there a new one?
My latest book is Mastering spice.It has over 200 every day recipes with spices.
What is your favorite spice?
There is not just one but rather the idea that I cannot live without them