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April 1, 2008 3:10 PM

Where in the World (Spice) is Tony?

Posted by Nancy Leson

After reading my previous post about a perfect day at Pike Place Market and my aromatic trip to my favorite culinary apothacary, the question has arisen:

"Speaking of World Spice, what happened to Tony? Did he sell it? I never see him there and can't tell if he still owns it or not. I'd love to know what he is up to, nonetheless (I love his spice tome!)."

In 2005, owner Tony Hill sold World Spice Merchants to longtime employee, Amanda Bevill.

"I started working for Tony in 2002, when he was finishing his spice book. I was looking for a career change, and so was he," she explains. With those changes in mind, Amanda became Tony's apprentice. "Everything I know about spices, I learned from Tony," she says, though it probably didn't hurt that in her previous career she was a medical herbalist. "For me, it's always pretty much been all about the plants."

"Tony was a wonderful, creative, ingenious business person," says Amanda, and the reason why so many of us may have not noticed the change of ownership was, "We didn't advertise the change. We wanted it to be a smooth transition and we really wanted to carry on his proud tradition" -- something she's apparently done to great effect. "That's why it seems like he never left."

Well, then, I asked her: Who's traveling the globe buying spices? She is! "I just got back from India," she says, explaining that she doesn't travel as much as Tony did because he set up a great buying network. Traveling, however, will always be part of her job. "As times change and the world changes, we're trying to keep abreast of it."

So, where in the world is Tony? "He travels around a lot," says Amanda, and is presently doing research for another book. This time, the subject is tea. "The last time I talked to him, he was in Thailand." Tony? You out there? If so, where's there?

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