Almost all of us have heard the phrase, “variety is the spice of life” somewhere, but what does it really mean? When you explore the menu at Christophe’s you can taste the passion Chef Christophe has for international spices and variety. One of our Foodies, KiKi Morris, was lucky enough to sit down and get his take on how variety and spice apply to the art of his cooking, inside and outside the Christophe’s kitchen, and life in general.
K: What were some of the first international spices, dishes, or flavors that really inspired you as you were starting out learning to cook, or on your journey to becoming a Chef?
C: Growing in a very traditional French family in the Parisian suburbs I was not really inclined to challenge my taste buds. Olive oil was exotic- north and east of France cook with butter and cream, southwest with duck fat and walnut oil, and southeast with olive oil. Fresh ginger was probably the very first different thing I got exposed to. Fruits and vegetables were picked in the garden, but I never got crazy good apricots since the tree died in my grandparent’s garden. I’m always looking for inspiration, but I think it’s more about the hard work in the kitchen and the quality and beauty of the product that inspires me the most.
K: Do you think it’s a positive and/or important thing for people to be open to trying different cuisines? If so, why?
C: Of course it is positively important to try anything that’s different than what’s in our comfort zone- in everything, not only food. Spices inspire you to travel, and it makes our job easier in the kitchen!
What are some of your favorite international dishes on the menu?
C: I love all of them!
K: Are there any relatively rare or lesser-known ingredients in any of the dishes we offer you’d like people to know more about (like the Japanese Sansho pepper in the Christophe’s Tuna Salad)?
C: I think it’s more important to cook with ingredients that are associated with where the spices, or blend of spices, come from. For example, the Ras el Hanout mix used in the Chicken Tajine Wrap is from North Africa. Ras el Hanout is used with fresh mint, raisins, dried apricots, carrot, turnips, potato, lamb, pigeon, and onion. All these ingredients are use traditionally in North African cuisines.
K: Is there any particular international sauce, spice, or other ingredient you think almost any cook could benefit from adding to their repertoire?
C: We all have different palates. I will share what I really like: Vadouvan curry, star anise, seaweed, smoked chipotle, fish sauce, hazelnut oil, Ras el Hanout, fenugreek, dill, rugbrød, French lentils, Aquarello risotto, Sherry vinegar, dried lemon, capers, and I love fresh ginger.
The Variety at Christophe’s
At Christophe’s To Go we carry a variety of dishes that feature international flavors from South America, Asia, Latin America and more, combined with using classic French techniques. Peaking at our menu will tell you that variety is very important to our company’s culture and cuisine.
The food also speaks for itself, whether it’s the exotic and subtle flair of Japanese Sansho in Christophe’s Tuna Salad, or the oregano that gives both our Classic and Paleo Turkey Lasagnas so much authentic Italian flavor. If you’re in the mood to challenge your taste buds with variety, our Chicken Teriyaki and Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche are just a couple enticing must-try dishes. Add some spice into your life- check out our new menu that’s posted every Tuesday and find the flavor that’s right for you!
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