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Le Cordon Bleu educator’s line of spices geared toward home chefs

It’s a recipe for kitchen queries when chef Heinz Lauer is off the clock and reveals he’s a professional cook.

"As soon as they hear I’m a chef, they have questions – ‘How do I do this? How do I do that?’ " the Centennial Hills resident said. "In just reading between the lines, I realized people need help."

Lauer’s culinary rescue approach strikes straight at home chefs’ spice racks.

"In my experience, I’ve found people like spices but don’t know how to use it," he said. "I said, ‘I’ll mix it for you.’ "

The Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas educator recently launched his own line of spice and seasoning blends called Spice Creations by Chef Heinz Lauer. The line includes 15 mixes and rubs blended locally and containing natural spices without fillers, preservatives or artificial flavorings. Lauer said his products are versatile for several types of meat, fish and vegetables.

He includes a suggested signature dish with each blend.

The spice recipes are the result of decades of culinary experience in kitchens all over the globe.

Lauer is a native of Germany, where he grew up in his parents’ three restaurants. He became a culinary apprentice at 13 and bounced around hotels, restaurants and cruise ships as a chef.

Spice Creations’ Jamaican Jerk Seasoning is a derivative of Lauer’s frequent trips to Jamaican ports during his nine years on cruise ships.

"We’d be in Jamaica every week and trying the best Jamaican jerk in the world," he said.

He’d test peppers from the Caribbean island until he had perfected a marinade for chicken or pork. He followed suit for his Asian and Southwestern blends.

Lauer was so confident in his Southwestern blend prowess that he had a taste test with Leticia Gardea, co-owner and namesake of Leticia’s Mexican Cocina, 7585 Norman Rockwell Lane. Lauer and his wife, Lisa, are regulars.

Gardea was born in Mexico City and said Lauer’s blend didn’t disappoint her.

"A lot of the spice (combinations) people have are heavy on the cumin and it ruins the flavor, but chef Lauer’s is just right," she said. "He has a nice balance and you get that burst of different flavors. It’s not overwhelming on one spice or flavor."

Gardea said she used it on red meat and fish in her home kitchen.

Although the prospect hasn’t been discussed, Gardea said she’d be open to a professional collaboration with her eatery and Lauer’s line.

"If he would have it, I would love it," she said. "One of the most crucial types of partnerships is business-to-business and supporting each other in the community."

A local business that Lauer blends, packs and sells his product with is Spice Bazaar, owned and operated by Paymon Raouf, founder of Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe & Lounge. He said Raouf agreed with his business philosophies.

"We’re on the same wavelength," he said.

Lauer’s blends are made in small batches to ensure freshness. Spices are purchased from high-end purveyors, and no fillers, such as corn starch, are added to the batch, he said. He substitutes sea salt whenever possible. Some of his blends lack the seasoning altogether.

"I want to keep it simple," he said. "We all love comfort food, and we identify them with happy memories. But look at your grandmother’s recipes. Did she make a big production out of it? No."

It took Lauer about two years to perfect his blends in his own kitchen and with Spice Bazaar, he said. "There was always something to add," he said.

Lauer hopes to create a recipe book with his blends.

"I hope people have fun with it," he said. "Cooking should be fun, not complicated."

Spice Creations by Chef Heinz Lauer are available online for $5.99 per bottle. Industrial-size containers also are available. Blends can be altered for the purchaser’s specifications .

For more information, visit cheflauer.com.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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