Spices – they can make or break your dish, as least according to chef and spice-maker Belinda Smith-Sullivan.


Sullivan, a culinary art-degree graduate, started dabbling with mixing spices as a hobby.


That hobby evolved into a spice line, now on sale at LaDolce cafe in downtown Aiken and at Whole Foods Market in Columbia.


Her flavorful contribution to Whole Foods Market came around the time of the store’s one-year anniversary.


“It was electric being in the store, being on the shelves, talking to customers, giving them samples ... and having great conversations about spices and what they care about,” Sullivan said. “It showed me there is a bigger market for my products than I ever imagined.”


Overall, she has made 11 spices.


To create them, Sullivan tests different mixtures of herbs, salts and other ingredients.


Once she has put together two or three variations, she has some of her loyal customers test them. She creates her final product based off their reviews.


Sullivan prides herself on creating well-balanced mixes.


“Whether you are a novice or an experienced chef … you don’t have to wonder,” she said on using her spices.


Spices for coffee, meat, vegetables are just a few options she offers.


Four years ago, Sullivan started playing around with this culinary craft.


When she was 7, she started experimenting in the kitchen. She later graduated from Johnson & Wales University.


The Trenton resident has lived around the world and has called South Carolina home for more than 10 years.


Sullivan contributes to Bella magazine and writes “The Flying Foodie Blog” and is a former co-host to ASTV’s “Cooking with MadJon” host Eileen Huston.


All of Sullivan’s spices are certified by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.


The spice-maker has plans to sell her creations in more of South Carolina’s Whole Foods stores.


In addition to Columbia’s Whole Foods store and LaDolce, the spices can also be purchased online.


For more information, visit www.chefbelinda.com/Spices.html or call LaDolce at 803-335-1440.


For more information on Sullivan, visit www.chefbelinda.com or flyingfoodie.blogspot.com.


Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.