Self-deprecation is a rarity among royalty. But when the Saffron Kinga.k.a. Behroush Sharificomes to dinner at La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, he shows how it's done. Sharifi has been selling spices to chef Justin Devillier for years, but when he sees the menu Devillier has prepared, he's still thrilled to see so many of his imports.
"My heart sings!" Sharifi says. "I'm all over the menu. 'Kale leaf stuffed with dried Iranian fruit.' Dried Iranian fruita good description of me, I think."
Hardly. With his tall frame, booming baritone and bushy black beard that he loves to stroke, Sharifi resembles nothing so much as a spice trader from the Middle Ages. He speaks with a British accent polished from years at UK boarding schools. Chefs love listening to him, not only for the accent, but for the marvelous stories he tells about his exquisite spices.