The Spice & Tea Exchange®, a gourmet, experience-based store offering an extensive selection of spices and exclusive hand-mixed blends, naturally-flavored sugars, salts and exotic teas from around the world, has tapped one of its own passionate franchisees – global spice maven Stefan Pickerel – to fill its newly created position of Corporate Chef.

As an experience-based store, The Spice & Tea Exchange encourages hands-on interaction with the spices and teas, allowing guests to open the jars and smell aromas. Knowledgeable store staff helps guests create custom blends and empowers them to take their creativity to the kitchen at home. Among his primary roles, “Chef Stefan” will work to enhance these in-store educational experiences, develop proprietary recipes and create new custom spice blends for the 50+ store growing national franchise.

Each store carries more than 140 spices, over 85 hand-mixed seasoning blends, 17 naturally-flavored sugars, 25 salts from around the world, and more than 35 exotic teas. The Spice & Tea Exchange also offers recipes, gift boxes and accessories to complement the spice and tea selections.

“Chef Stefan is not only extremely knowledgeable about flavor profiles, but also one of our most enthusiastic in-store educators,” said CEO Amy Freeman. “He was the perfect candidate for the Corporate Chef role to help inspire our system to live our brand mission of `Creating & Sharing the Experience of a More Flavorful Life.’”

Raised in a New York restaurant family, Chef Stefan Pickerel spent several years traveling the world and experiencing the culinary riches of more than 65 countries. With a gained understanding of how to enjoy the world’s diverse flavor profiles, the ability to adapt culinary techniques into everyday teachings became his true passion. As a co-owner of The Spice & Tea Exchange Portland and The Spice & Tea Exchange of San Francisco, and having attended advanced studies with San Francisco’s renowned Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy, San Francisco Baking Institute and S.F. Cooking School, Pickerel was a natural fit to help lead and implement new culinary initiatives.