Jobs We Love: Lior Lev Sercarz

A self-made spice master, Lior Lev Sercarz has rubbed elbows with the world's greatest chefs. Read on to learn more about his special blend of work.

James Beard Foundation: What’s your job description?

Lior Lev Sercarz: I own La Boîte à Epice, a line of unique and, at times, personalized spice blends for chefs all over the country as well as home cooks. I also produce a seasonal biscuit collection called La Boîte à Biscuits.

JBF: How did you get your job?

LLS: It took me 12 years to put the concept together while working around the world for some amazing chefs. One day, three years ago, I just started my own business, creating everything from nothing.

JBF: What past experiences have prepared you for your current position?

LLS: I started cooking 15 years ago for a catering company in Israel. I stayed there for three years, then

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Recipe: Cheese Latkes

cheese latkes Though it may sound like latke blasphemy, according to Mitchell Davis, JBF vice president and resident latke expert, the first latkes may actually have been made from cheese, not potato. This recipe yields sweet, breakfast-like pancakes that bear little resemblance to the usual Hannukah fare. Try them sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or doused in maple syrup.

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America's Classics: Doe's Eat Place

Doe's Eat Place Every one of America’s Classics has a unique story to tell, but together these restaurants represent the country’s rich fabric and illustrate how the closest communities cohere around food. As 2007 award recipient Shug Signa said about her family’s 68-year-old restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi, “People come together, never meet a stranger, and it’s the American way.” This family-owned and -operated restaurant is an icon of the culinary and cultural landscape of the Mississippi Delta. Doe’s Eat Place grew out of a 1940s grocery store that sold homemade hot tamales, eventually transforming itself into a casual steak joint that served both the African-American and white communities in segregated Mississippi. Pivotal during the civil rights era, Doe’s Eat Place has become a symbol of the region’s multiracial culture. Learn more about America's Classics and watch a video about Doe's Eat Place by visiting

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JBF News: JBF Award Winners Saddle Up for the World Equestrian Games

John Besh, Marc Vetri, and freshly enthroned Iron Chef Jose Garces are just a few of the JBF Award–winning toques who will join forces with the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the James Beard Foundation to put on Cookin’ in the Bluegrass, a 16-night dinner series in Lexington, KY. The program, taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Farmhouse restaurant, will also feature local talent and strive to recreate the lavish events held at the historic James Beard House in New York City. Click here to find out more.

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Eye Candy: Beard House

chefs at work Chef Mark Graham (second from left) and crew members form an assembly line to plate bacon-wrapped quail with Brussels sprouts, foie gras–braised carrots, and beet-poached quail eggs. Click here to see more photos of the early-November dinner. (Photo by Philip Gross)

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Eat this Word: Huckleberries

huckleberriesWHAT? Berry trails. Perhaps more associated with Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn than with fine cuisine, huckleberries grow most widely in the West, and along Midwestern rivers, like the Mississippi, on which Huck spent so many days lazing. Huckleberries come in many shades, including pink, white, blue-black, and purple, with the blue-black variety being the firmest and most widely available in the marketplace. James Beard was a fan, writing in American Cookery that they were “wonderful to the taste.” Unlike their close relatives, blueberries and cranberries, which have a multitude of soft, little seeds in their center, each huckleberry contains ten hard, small seeds, and their flavor is more tart. Huckleberries are not cultivated; their growing season is typically from June through August. According to Beard, they “make good pies and cakes and other typically American delights.” WHERE?

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Latkes

sweet potato latkes Though we've never met a person who didn't like latkes, this version could convert even the staunchest holdout. With their deep orange color and addictive, sweet-and-savory crunch, sweet potato pancakes just might give your grandmother's recipe a run for its gelt.

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