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Where do the top, award-winning chefs buy their spices?

Posted on March 15, 2019 by Scott Eirinberg

I know a lot of you are already cult fans of our signature Tellicherry Peppercorns and our Icelandic Flake Sea Salt. The reviews you’ve written are sometimes so over-the-top, I worry that others will think they’re fake. LOL. But I do understand. Those peppercorns somehow talked me into starting a spice business.

If you haven’t yet ventured beyond our signature salt and pepper, I wanted to let you in on something special.

Today, a large part of our business is supplying our spices to Michelin Star and James Beard award-winning chefs across the country. And they buy each and every one of our spices. From our impossibly citrusy Coriander Seed to our gorgeous Green Cardamom to our fresher than fresh Cumin seed. (Okay, sorry, I’m getting carried away, but I’m proud of our spices!)

In fact, we even supply a 3-Star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco. (There are only 14 that have been designated with three stars in the USA.)

Our spice collection goes beyond our signature salt and pepper


I want to let you know that we give you access to the exact same lots of spices that we supply to these same chefs. And we’re talking, the pickiest, most demanding, talented, respected chefs in the country.

Let me explain our process. We use our award-winning chefs as our consultants. Before we decide to add new spices to our collection, I visit our top chefs with samples in hand. I open the spices in front of our top chefs and then and watch their faces as they react. (It’s always a nerve-wracking moment.)

I want to let you know that we give you access to the exact same lots of spices that we supply to the pickiest, most demanding, most talented, most respected chefs in the country.

Only when several of our chefs are excited, and actually asking to buy the spices from us, will we add them to our collection. No matter how I personally feel, we won’t add a spice until we’ve gone through this rigorous vetting process. We don’t just sell spices because we have access to them. 

When we do finally add a new spice to our collection, we make the same spices available to you as well, just in smaller size packages. (I’m assuming you aren’t ready to order 5 lbs. at a time. But if you are, do let us know!)

Only when several of our chefs are excited, and actually asking to buy the spices from us, will we add them to our collection. No matter how I personally feel, we won’t add a spice until we’ve gone through this rigorous vetting process.

Your spices come from the EXACT SAME LOTS that our most talented chefs are getting. Yes, I know that we don’t have every spice under the sun. We go slowly before we add new spices to the line.

You see, the word “reluctant” in Reluctant Trading is there for a reason. We take our time, careful to only add stuff that is extraordinary. It takes time and resources on the ground to find the best of the best.

Each and every spice we purchase is bought in small batches, fresh and direct from the sources. In India, my partner, Divakar, literally travels the countryside for the best lots. He sells exclusively to us. We don’t use distributors or middlemen where spices sit and go stale.

We sell-through our spices consistently and often, several times a year, so you’re always getting the freshest, most aromatic stuff. Farm-to-table spices you might say.

Here’s what just a few of our award-winning chefs have to say about our spices. We hope you’ll now have the confidence to go beyond our salt and pepper and that you’ll check out the rest of our spice collection.

 

WHAT A FEW OF OUR AWARD-WINNING CHEFS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT OUR SPICES

“As with all spices, freshness is key. Reluctant Trading is one of my favorite sources for high quality spices.”

Chef Joshua McFadden
Ava Gene's, Portland, OR
Author of “Six Seasons”
A James Beard Award-Winning, National Best-Selling Cookbook, Bon Appétit America's Best New Restaurants 

 

“I love Reluctant Trading! From smoky, sultry, fire-dried turmeric to the most complex Tellicherry peppercorns around –the quality of their spices is unparalleled.”

Chef/Owner Bonnie Morales
Kachka Restaurant, Portland, OR
Awards: GQ 25 Most Outstanding Restaurants, James Beard, Bon Appetit America’s Best New Restaurants

“Thank you for showing us how good spices can actually be.”

Chef/Founder Vitaly Paley
Imperial, Paley’s Place, Headwaters, Rosa Rosa, Portland, OR
Awards: Several James Beard awards

 

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