New York Times Magazine - an article about spices worth reading
"Chefs also realized that Tio’s spices were different. His mother supplied him with peppercorns — black, white, red, cubeb, Sichuan, long pepper, four grades of tellicherry — that were still bright and round, not the dusty, desiccated fruits you usually see. “Spices can last maybe two or three years, depending on how well you store them,” Tio says in accented English. “But most of the spice that the consumer gets is already two, three years old.” So he made arrangements with Indonesian spice growers and began selling directly to chefs."
"..... He currently works with about 500 chefs, including Adrià, Corey Lee at the French Laundry, David Kinch at Manresa and Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park. The spice-driven menu at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, with its eight-course salt-and-pepper tasting, makes the chef Ron Siegel’s relationship with Tio clear. “He makes it easy to want to do new stuff,” says Siegel, who recently introduced a line of flavored salts created with Tio..."