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Exotic Tastes

Chef David Chrystian offers a unique social dining experience at Toronto eatery Victor Restaurant and Lounge. Each course is named after a vibrant local neighbourhood and is inspired by that district’s ethnic cuisine. Follow Chrystian’s expert seasoning tips to give your home cooking some global flavour.

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Italian Star Seasoning: Basil

Serve with: Fresh or stewed tomato- based summer dishes, rabbit, poultry

How to use it: For full pungency, add it fresh to dishes after cooking. Grow it in a window box so you can have it at your fingertips.

Wash with care: This fragile plant breaks down easily.

2 / 5

Indian Star Seasoning: Garam Masala (Spice Blend)

Serve with: Curries, biryani, pakoras

How to use it: Buy a mild blend and experiment by adding more ingredients (e.g. cumin, cinnamon, cloves) to a brand you like. Favour seeds, and grind them with a mortar and pestle or in a mill.

3 / 5

Greek Star Seasoning: Oregano

Serve with: Grilled/seared meat and fish

How to use it: Put in dried oregano at the start of cooking and fresh oregano at the end for a rounder flavour. Add fresh oregano to oil, lemon and garlic for a fantastic marinade. Store dried oregano in a cool, dark place.

4 / 5

Polish Star Seasoning: Caraway Seed

Serve with: Sausages, cabbage rolls, perogies, stew, pickled fish

How to use it: Best with dill and juniper. Start with less to avoid overpowering a dish. When adding extra later, first toast the seeds gently in a dry sauté pan to release the essential oils, then grind.

5 / 5

Korean Star Seasoning: Chili Peppers

Serve with: Hot and sweet soups and stews, kimchee

How to use it: Soy sauce and star anise round out chili heat with sweetness. Dried chili flakes offer consistency. Fresh jalapenos have more flavour, but vary in heat; adapt recipes based on taste.