Conversations with an Artist: Trent Blodgett of Spice Tribe
We discovered Spice Tribe at a pop-up marketplace in San Francisco. We spoke to the founder at length, tasting spice blends, and learning about his inspiration. We bought the Kissed by Binchotan spice blend, enjoying it in many recipes. Created by Trent Blodgett, a passionate foodie who grew up in both the family kitchen and as a professional in restaurants, Spice Tribe has its roots in the highest quality sustainable ingredients, flavors that celebrate vibrant cultures, and a giving back mission. We have been totally impressed by Trent's philosophy, travel stories, and exciting recipes. We are thrilled to add Spice Tribe gourmet spice blends and single origin spices, herbs and seasonings as part of our Ethical Pantry. A world of flavor for your table, and imaginative gifts that celebrate the beautiful cultures that make up our global communities.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
I had an amazing ceramic teacher in high school named Mark Jaeger who really instilled in me a love for art. So much so that I pursued art in college. I found myself out of my league and ended up dropping out and working in restaurants until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As my love for cooking was reignited, I found that cooking in and of itself was my art, and how I expressed myself. Now I tell my stories of exploration around the world in the form of spice blends and create dishes and recipes that transport me through time and space.
What themes do you pursue in your craft?
My brand Spice Tribe is rooted in the idea of interconnection. I believe we are all deeply connected to one another and to the Earth. Food tells the story of people, culture and our relationship with our environment. I travel the world to learn about others and their perspectives, and in turn I have learned so much about myself. Cooking is my home where I can come back to myself while connecting to everything else. At the end of the day food is all about love.
Trent Blodgett learning to make couscous with the Amazigh in Morocco
Tell us about what influences the direction for your culinary collection.
Spice Tribe started as a way to help people cook healthy food while we celebrate the many cultures that make up our world. Our spice blends are travel inspired and story driven.
They are all very unique because they paint the picture of an experience and the beautiful people I have met on my travels. We wanted to take our passion for creating a better world in every aspect of the business so we recently launched our Single Origin Spice line to really focus on sourcing incredible spices direct from small farms around the world– to highlight the unique terroir while also making sure the farmers are paid much higher than the commodity market.
How has your work developed over time?
Cooking has been a journey of self discovery. The more I cook and clear my mind, the more I know who I am. My spice blends have helped me express myself in a way I did not know was possible. Now we are working on some amazing collaborations where I am helping other people tell their stories in the form of spices. One of my favorite parts about this journey has been the relationships made around the world in search of farmers and foragers who grow amazing ingredients in a way that really respects the Earth.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My Ashi Hamono knife is my favorite cooking tool that has become an extension of my arm, but chiles are an indispensable ingredient that I cherish in most of my recipes because it reminds me of my childhood. My father instilled the love for food and cooking at an early age and he was a chile fanatic. (Check out recipes inspired by the chile Trent grew up with in the kitchen).
Do you collect anything?
I love to collect many different kinds of things on my travels and our home really is like walking through our adventures. I love to collect ceramic plates and cooking vessels from around the world and I think that goes back to my ceramic teacher who really inspired me.
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
I have struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time and Buddhist mindfulness practice really helped turn my life around. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, peace activist and author and I have read all of his books. One of his quotes that really stuck with me was this:
“When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting, or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, it also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water.”
This mindset has helped me see that we are all waves and no two waves are the same, but we are all made up of water.
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
Do not chase the ideas that society wants for you, but clear your mind of the noise in order to see what path is right for you. It is the struggles you go through that is the compost in order to grow the flowers of happiness.
So excited to introduce Spice Tribe to you. We have really loved adding flavor and new depths of interest to our food–especially after cooking even more during COVID. Spice Tribe has given us the opportunity to expand our recipe repertoire and even take simple food ingredients, like roasted vegetables, to new levels. Let's get cooking!
Buy Spice Tribe here.
~ Bonnie & Jeffrey