Don’t judge this classic spice by the dusty jar at your neighborhood pizza joint When prepared fresh and stored properly, red pepper flakes—made from the crushed skins and seeds of red chilis—deliver a bold, but not incendiary, punch to dressings, stews, even a cheese slice. Said to have been processed in this manner by early Macedonians, it fittingly pairs well with other Mediterranean ingredients such as eggplant and tomato.
In 2009, Meherwan Irani quit his day job in sales to open his first restaurant – Chai Pani, a unique Indian street food joint in downtown Asheville. Whether it was a midlife crisis or a stroke of genius is debatable. Since then, the self-taught chef has opened four restaurants, one bar, and now, Spicewalla. With five James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast under his belt, he’s finally confident this might just be working out. His restaurants have been written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, GQ, Food & Wine, Saveur, USA Today, and Bon Appétit, among others.