I was raised in a Moroccan home, where I grew up helping my mother cook the family meals. Traditional Moroccan food calls for many spices, and I became comfortable with all of them and their different uses in the kitchen.
It was my love of visual art that led me to study oil painting in college after I came to the United States. After I met Shuli and we started working together, I discovered that what I had learned about painting could also apply to blending spices.
With flavor and aroma as well as color and texture to work with, I started experimenting with different combinations of freshly ground spices. Each mixture came out better than the one before it and before long, we had an ever-growing assortment of Whole Spice blends along with our classic single-ingredient spices.
Thinking like a painter, I am inspired by color — a spice blend must have bright colors and the right texture, or it just won’t taste as good. But I also find inspiration in people’s stories about their homes, a good dish at a restaurant, a photograph or even a landscape: Our Napa Valley Blend is my herb and spice version of the beautiful winegrowing region where our shop is located.
I’m always worried that I’ll run out of ideas, but it never seems to take long for me to come up with a new concept to explore. I ended up giving up my painting to blend spices, and have never looked back: I intend to keep blending for the rest of my life.