BEN WALTERS: OWNER, NORTH MARKET SPICES
Why he’s a Tastemaker:
When Hot Chicken Takeover needs 50 pounds of cayenne or Barley’s Brewing Co. needs 200 vanilla beans, they visit Ben Walters. His spice shop has been a fixture in the North Market for nearly six years, and business has grown steadily every year. His shelves are lined with 1,500 spices, dried herbs and custom blends—all packaged in resealable bags with handwritten labels. Now, as more kitchens care about sourcing locally, Walters’ number is stored in the phones of many a talented chef—from Kent Rigsby to Marcus Meacham to John Dornback at Basi Italia—for bulk orders and proprietary blends. Walters supplies fenugreek (“It gives a maple-y flavor”), coriander and cinnamon to the brewers at Wolf’s Ridge, a Moroccan spice blend to CocoCat Bakery & Chocolates and a barbecue rub to Holy Smoke. Even mixologists like Phil Richardson at The Walrus go to him for infusions like a riff on Chinese Five-Spice Blend.
Sourcing is key:
We love Walters for his—and his staff’s—great recommendations (filet mignon, meet Coffee Rub). Professional chefs love him for his commitment to freshness and quality. “I go through very limited suppliers to get insanely high quality stuff, and try to make sure it’s steam-sanitized versus eradiated,” Walters says.
Full article – Columbus Monthly 2016 Tastemakers Ben Walters and Alexis Joseph.