Meet The Spice Savant

Plus, three blends to elevate everything from salmon to cauliflower

"I work with 120 different spices and I’m connected to each and every one of them in a different way," says chef Lior Lev Sercarz, owner of New York City's spice and biscuit shop, La Boîte. In addition to imbuing food with extra flavor, research has shown that incorporating herbs and spices into your diet may help prevent obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Instead of grocery store varieties, which can be lackluster, Sercarz creates innovative blends such as luberon (a mix of dried lavender, basil, fennel, and other spices perfect for animal proteins, fish, and vegetables) and isphahan (a slightly bitter Persian-inspired combination that enhances everything from soups and stews to rice and pickles). Industry veterans turn to Sercarz for custom creations and master chef Éric Ripert recently partnered with the spice guru on a special voyager collection. Here, Sercarz shares three of his recipes from The Spice Companion, which isn’t so much a cookbook as it is an encyclopedia dedicated to spices.