Lior Lev Sercarz is the chef, spice blender and owner of La Boîte, a biscuits and spice shop in New York, which has been featured in a variety of publications including The New York Times, Vogue, InStyle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food & Wine Magazine and the SAVEUR 100.
Born in the north of Israel, Lior spent the beginning of his life living with his family across Europe. He returned to Israel at age 10 where he quickly learned that the best food in Israel was not at restaurants but in people’s homes where the flavors of their origin countries combined with the Middle East. Though his path to the spice kingdom began after completing three years as a sergeant of the Israeli army. Lior traveled to South America where his exposure to new cultures and cooking further developed a passion for the culinary world.
Upon returning to Israel, Chef Gil Frank gave him his first job and after three years encouraged him to take the next step. Lior enrolled in culinary school at the acclaimed Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. During that time, he did an externship with chef Olivier Roellinger in Cancale, France, who had earned three Michelin stars at his hotel and restaurant Les Maisons de Bricourt. Roellinger became known for his rare understanding of spices, blends, oils, and pastes, areas Lior found the most interesting.
In 2002, Lior brought his newfound understanding of spice blending to New York, where he had the honor of working with chef Daniel Boulud at his flagship restaurant Daniel as a sous chef and catering chef. He left Daniel in 2008 to start La Boîte, originally making and selling a line of French biscuits as well as experimenting with spices. In 2011, deepening his spice knowledge, he opened La Boîte Biscuits & Spices, an art gallery and spice shop in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen on 11th Avenue and 51st Street.
Lior has worked closely with chefs from around the world, developing custom blends for them and for other customers with all levels of cooking experience. Restaurant collaborations include: Daniel, Le Bernardin, Zahav, Momofuko Ssam Bar, Kawi, Del Posto, Marc Forgione, Blackbird, Oleana, and Michael Mina, among others.
In 2012, he produced a cookbook entitled The Art of Blending, which features 41 blends along with recipes and cooking tips provided by renowned chefs and culinary minds. His second book, The Spice Companion, is an illustrated guide to 102 spices, complete with blends and recipe ideas, was published by Clarkson Potter in November 2016. Lior released his third book, Mastering Spice: Recipes and Techniques to Transform Your Everyday Cooking, in October 2019, also published by Clarkson Potter. It offers 250 recipes informing readers on how spices change the way one makes every meal.
Up next for Lior includes the expansion of La Boîte’s presence in Manhattan with a new wholesale headquarters and test kitchen on West 46th Street. He also serves as the culinary director of the future Jewish National Fund-USA Galilee Culinary Institute in Israel’s Upper Eastern Galilee, set to open in 2021.
Lior lives in New York’s Upper West Side with his wife Lisa and their two boys.