Want to spice up your life? Rooted Spices co-founder Rachel Walker explains how…. By Victoria Stewart
In front of me on a kitchen counter are what looks like tiny piles of brightly coloured dust. Some are beige or bright yellow, others are deeper, ochre yellows, blood reds, and rich, oily browns.
These are in fact the results of a ‘smell and taste’ test where, in each case, food journalist and entrepreneur Rachel Walker and I have compared the contents of unbranded glass jars of spices (bought that morning) with some from a set of tin caddies. The latter are labelled with Indian cumin, Turkish coriander, Guatemalan cardamom and Sri Lankan cinnamon, as well as things less familiar to me such as amchur from India. The difference between the two is striking; in each case the first is flat and dull, and the second offers a wider, richer range of flavours.
Like many regular home cooks, apart from a few spices that I have purchased from specialist shops, or those I have bought back from trips abroad, the majority of my spice cabinet is made up of glass jars collected from various supermarkets. And all this time, this has seemed fine – not as good as the real things, of course, but good enough.
This is exactly what Walker and her co-founder Clara Glass, a former lawyer, want to change with the launch of their new spice company, Rooted Spices.
A keen and talented cook – she later makes a feast of chicken, chickpeas and courgettes to show off some of the flavours – Walker has been cooking with spices for years, while Glass grew up in Turkey eating them. Still, it takes a bold pair to want to disrupt an age-old market, and one fraught with confusion and regulations.
So why do it?
The article appeared in full in The Evening Standard in June 2018. Read it in full here.