About Niki Segnit

Flavour Thesaurus author Niki Segnit

Niki Segnit had not so much as peeled a potato until her early twenties, when, almost by accident, she discovered that she loved cooking. Much as she enjoys haute cuisine, she’s not likely to reproduce it at home, preferring to experiment with recipes from domestic kitchens abroad. Her background is in marketing, specialising in food and drink, and she has worked with many famous brands of confectionary, snacks, baby foods, condiments, dairy products, hard liquors and soft drinks. Since summer 2010 she has written a weekly column on food combinations for The Times. She lives in central London with her husband.

102 Responses to About Niki Segnit

  1. Niki, just came across your book in TimeOut Chicago. I quickly raved about it on our Facebook page, Expendable Edibles, because you see my partner and I are absolutely fixated on gourmet rescues of perfectly good food. We’re first generation Americans (our parents ran away from the Nazis) and we find it upsetting, let alone immoral, to throw out the This and Thats we encounter every day in our fridge, freezer or countertop.

    So long story short, we started compiling an enormous database of recipes on http://www.expendableedibles.com. If you come to Chicago, you must call me (773-255-4677) but in the meantime, let’s Skype some time (NancyGershman) as I see our destinies intertwined. Congratulations on your beautiful book.

    Nancy Gershman and Marlene Samuels

  2. Just heard your book will come out in Holland, can’t wait to have it in my cookbookshop. Hope to sell it as well on the Terra Madre in Holland on the 14th and 15 of may.
    Are you visiting Holland in the near future?

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Lucien
      Thanks for the message, and in advance for your support for the Smaakbijbel. Terra Madre sounds great – would have loved to have made it, but unfortunately I’m doing a talk in England that weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to come next year. As to visiting Holland – yes. Not sure exactly when yet, but sometime this year.
      Best wishes

    • Daan says:

      Lucien today Niki will be in Amsterdam where I will interview here. Come talk and taste!
      16.00 Scheltema Amsterdam.

  3. Hi,

    I just bought the German version of your book today and I have to say it is awesome! Thanks so much for having put so much work into it! Now I gotta go food-shopping ;-)

  4. Hi Niki, I love your book and the originality and bravery of it. I’m working on a piece of research into tastes in foods and wines and would love to swap thoughts if you ever have a moment.
    Kind regards

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Robert
      Thank you for your kind comments. Are you on Twitter? If so you could DM me @flav_thesaurus
      Best wishes

  5. Sara Silvi says:

    Dear Niki,
    your book was the best gift I received for my 30 birthday!
    Every day, getting back from work, it is my first thought (even before my husband!!!) and I can not wait for the weekend to come to try some “Agnello e Albicocche”.
    Thank you for such a beautiful idea that will surely increase my italian cooking expertise!

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Sara
      Thank you very much. And happy birthday. Was it the Italian version you received?
      Best wishes

      • sara silvi says:

        Yes, it was in italian,,, and I already bought two copies for two close friends of mine,,,my best friend and my Boss!Here, in Italy, you just can’t live enough well, without cooking well!

  6. Niki,
    I am a Washington, DC-based food writer doing a story for Associated Press about flavors, specifically, how the use of a single flavor such as citrus or fennel can unify a meal if used in most of the dishes. I would love to talk with you about this, and of course would mention your book when citing you. Do you by chance have any time tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 14)? I am available from 9am Eastern Standard (2pm London time.) Thank you in advance for your consideration. Best, Michele Kayal

  7. Tobias Pradenas AKA @pastafool says:

    Just picked up your book! can’t wait to dive into it!

  8. Alice says:

    I got your book a while ago…I knew I would have loved it :)
    I go back to it now and then and it’s always a pleasurable time.
    All the best,


  9. Hi Niki, I have a potential project that I’d love to have a quick chat to you about. What’s the best way of getting in contact? I’m on 07702 684290. Many thanks, Hamish

  10. Jane Peyton says:

    Dear Niki

    Not only is your book brilliant and full of fascinating information but it’s really amusing. I’ve been chortling out loud as I read it on the train. I’m keeping the Flavour Thesaurus on my ‘Bible’ bookshelf along with ‘The Brewmaster’s Table’ by Garrett Oliver. I’m actually using the book as I type this as I’m trying to match a particular beer with food. The book is giving me lots of inspiration!

    Thanks for writing such a useful book.

    Kind regards

    Jane Peyton
    London, UK

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Jane
      Thank you very much for your kind comments. My beer-writer friend Pete Brown invited me to dinner with Garrett Oliver and for some frustrating reason I couldn’t go. Anyway, I must read his book – it sounds really interesting.
      Best wishes

  11. Kit says:

    Hello Niki! I am working with a nonprofit in London and we are beginning some work on spices which could greatly benefit those in developing countries. I’d love to chat with you and collect a few ideas if you can spare the time. It’s early stage work so I don’t want to give details here, but please e-mail me at your convenience.

  12. Hola, fantástico tu libro.
    Veras tenemos un obrador de embutidos artesanos en Villafranca de Ebro, nuestra misión es elaborar productos de toda la vida con el sabor de los años de nuestros abuelos.
    Pero un día sentí curiosidad y me decidí el mezclar sabores.
    Morcilla de arroz: freírla en rodajas y luego bañarla con chocolate.
    Te dejo la dirección del blog que estamos actualizando y veras las butifarras de sabores, la ultima es de ron con nueces, cebolla caramelizada con miel etc.
    Y por variar salchichas de café. Muchas gracias por tu libro
    Un saludo Gonzalo

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Hola, y gracias por tus palabras muy simpáticas. Soy encantado que te gusta el libro. No hablo mucho español – escribo con la ayuda de mi marido, que habla un poco – pero sus combinaciones de sabor parecen muy interesantes. Si alguna vez estamos en Villafranca de Ebro debemos probar tus salchichas.

  13. Dear Niki,

    Thank you so much for writing The Flavour Thesaurus – it’s fabulous. I’m so impressed by it! Useful, amazingly well researched, fascinating, hilarious, delicious! I’ve been reading it on the train everyday and it’s been making me actually look forward to the cramped and smelly journey. My favourite line so far is ‘In Poland, a potato salad without dill is like a union leader without a bushy moustache.’ One thing that amazes me is that unlike so many food books, yours manages to captivate without relying on glossy photography. I have to admit, I bought the book because I thought it looked pretty. But you’ve got me completely hooked now, and I don’t think I’ll be shelving it for quite a long time!

    Kind regards,

    Melbourne, Australia

  14. Thanks Niki! I shall be loading you site as one of my ‘people we like’ pages on my blog which is getting a new look this weekend – would you be able to provide me with a thumbnail 220 wide? thanks! Of course only if you are willing!

  15. Margo says:

    @Niki Segnit

    Niki, any chance for polish edition ?

  16. Hi Nikki,
    I absolutely loved your book, I thought it was clever and insightful. Modest and humourous in parts! I’ve written about it on my blog, http://daniellesutor.wordpress.com/ After leaving uni and deciding to become a chef at 24 this book has given me even more inspiration to continue learning about my passion, definately a woman after my own heart! Goodluck in whatever projects you embark on next!

  17. Roberto says:

    Appena comprato ! già dalle prime pagine ho capito che mi farà compagnia spesso, lo leggerò e rileggerò ma soprattutto metterò in pratica i tuoi abbinamenti nelle mie prossime ricette.

    Complimenti !!!


    Hi Niki I can’t find any reference to spinach, silverbeet, chard ,etc. My vege. garden
    is flush with English Spinach and I am bit sick of the basic combinations. Your T.T. book has helped me out when it’s time to shed the mundane. Did you give the spinaches the flick, or was it a matter of having to stop somewhere?.
    I’m sure there will be a revised addition sometime. Maybe my favourite veg. will get a gurnsey. Judging by the blogs from all over you must now be world famous. Well done.

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Christopher,
      You’re right, there isn’t much on greens. There are some references in the cabbage section, but nowhere near a glut’s-worth. I’m afraid it was just a matter of having to stop somewhere.
      The classic combinations, which may well be the ones you’re sick of, are things like nutmeg, garlic and cheese – goat’s cheese or any dairy with a tangy-salty edge are particularly good.
      Those aside, I can get through a lot of greens stir-fried with ginger and oyster sauce. I also think it’s worth exploring salty-seafood combinations – smoked fish, for example, or some sort of Spanish rice dish with mussels or prawns.
      To bring out a different aspect of their taste and flavour, you could try greens in a broth made with a subtly fennel-seed or star-anise-scented stock. I’d use pork ribs as the base, but butternut squash would be a good option for vegetarians.
      Finally, have you tried sweet spinach tarts? They used to be popular in England and still are in France. In her Vegetable Book, Jane Grigson has a version that’s really a spinach-enriched custard tart, flavoured with vanilla. David Lebovitz’s version is more French – it’s fruity and spicy.
      I haven’t tried either, yet. But I’m very curious.
      Best wishes

  19. Dave Wheeler says:

    Perhaps because – after over 40 years – I now HAVE to cook for myself, I have discovered I love cooking!
    However, living on the most isolated inhabited island in the British Isles, I have to make do with whatever ingredients are available. These are not limited as we do have local produce during the summer and our local shop is very well stocked (as long as bad weather does not disrupt our ferry sailings (weekly in winter) for too long!
    The problem is that in most recipes (books, online) there is usually at least one ingredient unavailable.
    ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ is invaluable in helping me either modify the recipe or start afresh using the ingredients that I have available and need to use!

    Many appreciative thanks for such a well-researched and useful book.

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Dave
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me about The Flavour Thesaurus. It’s such a pleasure for me to hear that people do use the book.
      I live in central London, so I’m rarely stuck for any ingredient that I might need, but I find myself modifying recipes or just making things up because I hate to throw food away.
      Wishing you a winter of not-too-disrupted ferries and many pleasurable adventures in your kitchen.
      All the best

  20. TFT makes for wonderful reading anywhere – on the Metro, in bed and in the kitchen.
    My homage here:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  21. Richard Larkin says:

    I wrote to you, months ago c/o Bloomsbury Publishing, following your article in the Times where you mentioned the problem of identifying beer styles. I enclosed the then new CAMRA leaflet on the subject. Since then, I have discovered this item:
    http://www.posterrevolution.com/poster.cfm/periodic-table-of-beer-styles-chart-poster-print-24×36 My copy is on order from Amazon UK.

    They also have one on wine varietals, which might also be worth checking.

  22. Lou Brown says:

    Hi Niki,
    Just wondering, I have a choice of either the first edition or the second edition, is there much of a difference between the two, and which one would you choose.

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Lou
      I asssume you’re referring to the American Flavor Thesaurus. If so, there’s no difference in the content, but the type size in the 2nd edition is slightly larger, and the cover is a deal more pretty. So I’d go for the 2nd.
      With best wishes

  23. Ruth Panelli says:

    Niki you book remains unique amongst my much loved food books ever since my daughter gave it to me two years ago. It is always a ‘friend’ and inspiration to dip into. I find ideas for what I’m pondering – but regularly come away with some other creative directions to explore as well! I hope you are working on more food projects? Any news you can share with us on other publications upcoming?

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Ruth
      Thanks so much for your kind comments – it was always my hope that the book would inspire readers to go off in their own directions, and it’s great to hear that seems to be the case with you. As to the near future, the Guardian is going to be publishing extracts from the FT from next Saturday…
      Best wishes

  24. Laurens says:

    Hi Niki,

    I have some questions for you.
    can you maybe email me? I was thinking about a concept i would love to work out!

  25. Josep Maria says:

    Muchísimas gracias por haber escrito con tanta claridad y amor por la cocina este libro.
    Soy cocinero profesional desde hace 25 años y te puedo decir que tu libro es un referente de trabajo mi.parahttp://sibarispaper.com/
    Aquí en Barcelona tienes a un colega y admirador.
    Muchas gracias

  26. Adrian says:

    Favourite food writers;
    alphabetical order
    Elizabeth David
    Alan Davidson
    Marcella Hazan
    Jacques Médecin
    Niki Segnit

  27. Jean Dumas says:

    Dear Nikki,
    Thanks for this amazing book! I recommended it to all my friends since I read it, and use it quite often.
    I wrote an article about it on my blog, here is the link: http://tieandspoon.blogspot.ch/2013/02/cabinet-des-curiosites-4-le-repertoire.html
    the articles are in french, but there is an english version below!
    A French fan,
    Jean Dumas

  28. Gunilla says:

    Hi Niki!

    I love your book, I use it almost every day.

    But I hope that you soon will write an expanded edition with even more foods and combinations!

  29. Dear Nikki,

    Ever since picking up a copy of your fresh-off-the-press book in the fab Stoke Newington Bookshop a few years ago, it has been a great friend in the kitchen and a super bedtime read. It is now lovely to read snippets every weekend in the Guardian’s ‘Cook’.

    I’ve just started writing a blog myself and mention your excellent book in my latest post. In case you’re interested! https://themotherinlawskitchen.wordpress.com/

    Many thanks and I look forward to your next venture.

    Best wishes,

    Jess @ themotherinlaw’skitchen

  30. Josep Maria says:

    Hola Nikieste es mi blog ,
    espero que te guste.
    Un abrazo desde barcelona

  31. Olivier Wulveryck says:

    Hello Niki,

    I just wanted to thank you for the hard work you’ve done on this book.
    I have the french version that always helps me finding good way to accommodate what I have in the fridge or the season vegetables.
    I don’t have any cooking blog, nor I’m watching cooking tv shows, but definitely I like the pleasure of the food. And such a pleasure is increased by the advices found in your book.


    Good morning Niky, I’ve bought your very interesting book and, little by little, I’m reading it, because is very full of suggestions. Now, I want to try to use Aloe Vera in savoury plate, in sweets it easy to combine with fruits and centrifuged. Thank you for your reply.

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Hi Roberto, thank you for your message. I have to confess that I have never tried aloe vera, so I don’t have any ideas based on experience. Nonetheless, I suggest you start from the point of trying it on its own, and asking yourself ‘what does its flavour remind me of?’. So, if you find a grassy / earthy / bitter-tinged flavour then maybe try it with flavours that you’d pair spinach with. Or perhaps it’s more aromatic, like a herb or a pandan leaf. I hope that helps a bit. Let me know how you get on. Best wishes, Niki.

  33. Candy says:

    I noticed your book on a website last week, ordered it from the library, and have just read the first two pages – absolutely brilliant! I need my own copy. I am struggling with how to enhance a chocolate cake baked with beer and your book is going to ‘hold my ahnd’! Thank you!

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Candy
      How nice of you to write. I do hope the book helps with your chocolate cake…
      With best wishes

      • Candy says:

        The chocolate cake with beer is now flavoured with Chinese Five-Spice powder and tastes very good indeed! I am now the proud owner of your book, and understand why the flavour combination works. I am thinking of a ‘Chocolate Cake Tasting’ event for fundraising..

  34. Bartek says:

    Great , great book. I’ve just recived it and can’t stop reading and thinking about next days menu ;)

    regards from Poland

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Bartek
      Thanks so much for your kind comments. Very glad it’s providing food for thought.
      Best wishes

      • Marie says:

        Dear Niki,

        Congratulations for your work, it is amazing ! I also call your book “the bible” ;)
        Is there a polish version ? If yes, where can I order it ?

        Kind regards,


        • Niki Segnit says:

          Dear Marianne
          Thanks so much for your kind comments. It’s called the bible in Holland, too (De Smaakbijbel). Sadly there isn’t a version in Polish, nor any plans to publish one at the moment.
          All best

  35. Blair says:


    I saw FT mentioned in a recent Delicious article and it sounded just what Ineeded for a friend’s birthday present. So I bought two copies, one for me. Seems friend had just added it to her Xmas list, so thatwas a success.

    Love the humour. FT will certainly make me think more widely about what I cook at home.



  36. Angie says:


    By profession I’m a Flavourist so when I saw your book title when I was last in London I naturally purchased it immediately.

    It’s become an invaluable reference from an “unlikely” source with great snippets of info and fantastic ideas. I’m currently using it as a reference to create a range of wacky toothpaste flavours and having loads of fun.

    Thanks for the great job and should you have enough material for a 2nd book I would look forward to reading / using it as well.


  37. Meera says:

    Hello Niki,

    My copy of your book is one of my most treasured and most used cook books of all time.

    I’ve now written my own book ‘Made in India’, which will be published by Penguin later this year. While I was writing it, I had an idea which I’d love to talk to you about. Is there a way I can contact you privately?

    All best

  38. Adam says:

    Hi Niki,

    I made the fatal mistake of loaning my fave cooking reference book (FT) and alas now it is gone forever.

    Whilst I wait for a new copy to arrive in the post it struck me that FT could work very well as an App for phone/tablets. I imagine a dial of various foods one could select which would then link to other food matches. Similar to the wonderful cover art on your
    wonderful book.


    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Adam

      Thanks so much for writing and sorry to hear someone’s made off with your Flavour Thesaurus. Yes, a lot of people have suggested an FT app. It’s something we’re looking into.

      With best wishes


  39. Giles Gaffney says:

    Great book! Could you please tell me how the rules would work for combining 3 or 4 flavours, in theory?

  40. Robert F. Woods says:

    Could you please give the name of the restaurant in Barcelona with the great lamb? Thanks.

  41. Casas Damian says:

    Estoy super agradecido y maravillado con su grandioso libro. Es increíblemente util!!. Muchísimas gracias!!!
    Damian Casas

  42. shravan says:

    Hi Nikki,

    You should consider making an app from iphone / android based on this book. It is an incredible opportunity and the book’s structure lends itself to it.

  43. Juan Restrepo says:

    Hola Niki

    Soy Juan Restrepo Chef en entrenamiento (Aprendiz de Chef) acabo de adquirir su libro en la Feria del Libro, aquí en Medellin, Colombia. Debo decirle que Medellin y sus alrededores, se ha convertido entre muchas cosas, en una ciudad que viene experimentando en la cocina, lo viejo con lo nuevo, lo de afuera con los de adentro y solo era leer un poco de su libro, para darme cuenta que con mis pocos conocimientos, seria muy interesante tenerla aquí. La ciudad tendrá el próximo 15, 16 y 17 de octubre un festival gastronómico de su altura, seria un placer contar con usted, se que es difícil, pero podría venir en otra oportunidad.

    Leeré con esmero su libro y pondré en práctica todas esas deliciosas combinaciones.


    Juan Restrepo

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Hola Juan
      Thanks for getting in touch. I think I’ve left it a bit late this year, but have a great festival. I’ll see if I can find a Colombian restaurant in London and try to join you in spirit at least.
      Best wishes

  44. Hi Nikki

    I have just come back from visiting University College Birmingham and found that they have been granted permission to use your flavour wheel diagram as a wall graphic on their wall (hospitality department). I wanted to know if I could have the same permission granted as I feel it’s a great tool to have on display for our students.

    Let me know either way.


  45. Hey Nikki!

    We are working on a food travel app (traveliago.com) and big fans of your concept. We’re building an app to help people find dishes they would like to eat when traveling to a new country. Every country has amazing food and we think it’s a shame most travelers only manage to scratch the surface by trying the most popular stuff. We thought your flavour wheel concept would be a cool way to categorise food. E.g. Use the app to identify all Thai dishes that use ‘earthy’ ingredients.

    Would love to have your permission to do this, of course we would credit you on the app. Do let us know if this is possible.


    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Shahram,

      Thank you for your enquiry. I’m afraid that I don’t grant permission for my wheel to be used in other contexts, but I wish you all the best with your app.

      Regards, Niki

  46. Hello Niki,

    Just felt a strong urge to let you know how big of inspiration you were to me and my cooking, and from recently my career. Inspired by The Flavour Thesaurus, I’ve started my own start-up company and brand Little Blue Pot consisting of range of fruit and herb jams and preserves. Many more projects are now in development, and they are all interesting flavour combinations, so thank you very much on your indirect support and tons of inspiration and quality reference!

    I honestly view your book as a cooking Bible, for anyone remotely interested in food!

    Best regards,
    Jovana :)

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Dear Jovana

      Thank you so much for your kind message. I’m sorry not to have responded sooner – the truth is I’ve been working hard on a new book, and haven’t been checking the website – how long for I can now see from the date of your comment. I’m delighted you’ve found the FT useful. Best of luck with Little Blue Pot – it sounds great.

      All best, and apologies again,



    Hi Niki, my name is Daniela Mercado and I work for the Bogota’s Internacional Book Fair. I would like to talk to you about having you in our next edition. My email is: practicantecomunicaciones@camlibro.com.co

  48. Hi Nikki,
    I work in Kai which is an Auckland NZ based social enterprise on a mission to regenerate our food system. We love your book and we want to quote some flavors of your book in our facebook posts, so I want to know if yo have a facebook account so we can reference.

    Best regards!

    • Niki Segnit says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Thanks for your kind comments and apologies for the delay in answering. I don’t do Facebook, I’m afraid, nor am I too sure what the legal deal is with taking quotes from the book. You’d probably need to speak to the publisher about that.
      Many thanks

Leave a Reply to Paul Robinson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>