“I was getting a little frustrated in the restaurant industry and was looking for a little more freedom and control over my life,” says Alex Sorenson, a former fine dining chef and founder of Blank Slate Kitchen.

“I had opened a restaurant in Brooklyn and it was 100 weeks without a day off in four months.”

Now, Sorenson aims to capture a specific time and place from his global travels, which he had many of growing up in a military family, with every condiment and ingredient he crafts; we especially like the bright, gingery Sichuan Chili Oil.

“I learned how to make the Cambodian sauce tuk meric from a taxi driver,” says Sorenson. “The taxi driver took me back to his place and we hung out with some friends of his and we made fried frogs until they were crispy and crunchy. They made this dipping sauce of ground pepper, lime juice, salt and sugar—I thought it was the most perfect snack.”

See here for more from the Milk Street Store.

Photos: Courtesy of Cole Riley and Brianna Coleman