What's the most versatile spice?
Curry. We use it everywhere, from savory dishes to desserts. We take pear juice and freeze it in a spherical mold, then dip it in Mycroyo (which is like processed cocoa butter) infused with hot and mild curry, a little bit of salt and a little bit of white chocolate. This creates a shell. At room temperature, the pear juice melts and the shell stays rigid.
What's the most underused spice?
Mastic. It's a resin from a tree that grows on an island in Greece. It's super expensive and the flavor is amazing. It's piney, very evergreen-y, but complex and rich. We blend it with anything that has fat or is butter- or cream-based.
What items should be in every pantry?
Grapeseed oil, salt and flour. Grapeseed is our oil of choice for any vinaigrette, sauce or emulsification because it's more neutral-tasting than olive oil. We cook with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Coincidentally, the Diamond Crystal factory is in the town where I grew up—St. Clair, Michigan. It's funny that we tried all these different kosher salts and the one we ended thinking was the best was from my hometown. Most people use Morton, which is coarser. We finish sauces with Maldon salt, but we also use gray salt, salt from Brittany, smoked salt. Most smoked salts are made with liquid smoke, which is a condensate, but really, really good smoked salt is literally smoked. Ours is from Denmark and smoked over peat.