Chefs Look for Wild Ingredients Nobody Else Has

I’m a big fan of interesting foods so this article on NY Times about ‘wildcrafters” people who forage for food in a specific manner, was a gem to read. These people don’t search primarily on private and (with permission) for feral plants that you would never think of eating. Crazy plants like toothwort, cornelian cherries, brown jug, creasy greens, sweet cicely, pineapple weed and licorice fern. Chefs in New York and around the world are taking these plants as a sort of challenge such as Momofuku Ssam who serves a fruit leather made of tart, floral Russian olive berries with a roasted porcini and duck liver mousse. “It gives you a creative boost,” Mr. Miller said. “For me it was like rediscovering the first time I cooked a piece of fish.” Definitely an inspiring article for people who love to try new things.

Increasingly, in an era when truffles are farmed and Whole Foods sells fresh porcini, the ingredients that chefs seek are not the ones anyone can order; they’re the ones that few have ever heard of. They are the most unusual, not the most expensive. And even if they’re plentiful, they’re exclusive: you need either to know where to go and what to gather, or who to call.

You can also see a really nice photo gallery as well by clicking here.

Looking at these photos again I wish there was a video that accompanied the article and photos that looked just like the photos. It would be great if NY Times dabbled more into premium video, that’s something I would pay a regular subscription fee for.


November 25, 2010