Gift Guide 2020: Serious Spice

November 22, 2020

Floyd Cardoz was one of the chefs I admired most. When he opened Tabla for Danny Meyer in 1999 I was blown away. (You can read my review here.) Floyd’s cooking was utterly new to New York. There were plenty of Indian restaurants, but none were as original and modern, and none went beyond tradition to give us a true chef’s vision of what Indian food might be.

Floyd was a game changer, one of the people who put an end to the dominance of European restaurants and paved the way for others to demonstrate what their native cuisines might be in the hands of extremely talented chefs. He went on to win Top Chef Masters in 2011 and open his own wonderful Paowalla. (You can read about my first meal there here.)

Floyd was, tragically, one of the first victims of the Covid pandemic. But he’d been working on this array of masalas for Burlap and Barrel, and after his death his wife, Barkha, continued to develop the line.

They’re wonderful. If you have any interest in cooking Indian food, you’ll want a set of your own. Each masala is distinctly different, and you can’t help playing around with them, adding their punch to all manner of other dishes. They make almost everything taste better.

While you’re on the Burlap and Barrel site, take a look at the other spices. I’m completely addicted to their cured sumac, their black lime, their intense cumin. And I’m not sure I could cook anymore without their really wonderful black peppers.

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