Tool Kit: Joanne Chang, Chef-Owner of Flour, Discusses the Essentials from Her New Cookbook

When Joanne Chang released her debut cookbook, Flour, which chronicles the confections that spawned a mini empire, loyal customers raced to get a copy. Unfortunately for our waistlines (learning the quantity of butter in those sticky buns was sobering), Chang’s follow-up, Flour, Too, is now available at all Flour locations. The chef covers treats in her sequel, but the new book also focuses on savory items, including Flour’s sandwiches, salads, and take-home dinner specials. Here, she reveals how she and her team get the job done.


Photo by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Molly Shuster.

1. Fresh Olive’s Rose-Petal Harissa: “It doesn’t taste perfumey, like you think rose petals would suggest. Mixed with yogurt, it’s a great condiment for almost everything.”

2. Israeli Couscous: “The bigger grains have a lot of texture, so it’s like eating an actual pasta in a salad or a soup.”

3. Marukan Rice Vinegar: “It’s lighter and sweeter than other rice vinegars. It goes well with a lot of our salads.”

4. Smoked Salt: “To get a smoke flavor, you just add a pinch. We use it to make a smoked tomato soup.”

5. Achiote Paste: “It’s a little smoky and a little spicy. We mix it with oil and use it to marinate chicken breasts.”

6. Tahini: “The bulk of it goes into hummus, which we make tons and tons of.”

7. White Peppercorn: “My chef at Flour Back Bay, Corey Johnson, prefers white pepper because it’s less pungent and adds more of a background note.”

8. Yellow Curry: “That’s in our curried-tuna sandwich. At home, it’s good in stir-fries and stews.”

9. Spice Grinder: “A lot of the spices we work with we buy whole, and then grind them every day.”

10. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise: “When I worked for Lydia Shire at Biba, we made everything in-house. But when she taught me to make lobster salad, she pulled out a big jug of Hellman’s. She said, ‘I don’t want to mess with the best.’”

11. Mandoline: “It’s good for a smaller portion, if you need a couple of shavings of cheese or vegetables.”

12. Spider: “We use it to fry onions for the roast-beef sandwich—they bob around in hot oil, and this fetches them out.”