The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir
By Pascal Baudar, 432 pages, hardcover
Wild foods are increasingly popular, but The New Wildcrafted Cuisine expands on the topic by deeply exploring the flavors of local terroir, combining the research and knowledge of plants and landscapes that chefs often lack with the fascinating and innovative techniques of a master food preserver and self-described "culinary alchemist."
Author Pascal Baudar views his home terrain of southern California (mountain, desert, chaparral, and seashore) as a culinary playground, full of wild plants and other edible and delicious foods (even insects) that once were gathered and used by native peoples but that have only recently begun to be re-explored and appreciated. He uses barks to make smoked vinegars, and combines ants, plants, and insect sugar to brew primitive beers. Stems of aromatic plants are used to make skewers. Selected rocks become grinding stones, griddles, or plates. Even fallen leaves and other natural materials from the forest floor can be utilized to impart a truly local flavor to meats and vegetables, one that captures and expresses the essence of season and place.
This beautifully photographed book offers up dozens of creative recipes and instructions for preparing a pantry full of preserved foods, including Pickled Acorns, White Sage-Lime Cider, Wild Kimchi Spice, Currant Capers, Infused Salts with Wild Herbs, Pine Needles Vinegar, and many more. And though the author’s own palette of wild foods are mostly common to southern California, readers everywhere can apply Baudar’s deep foraging wisdom and experience to explore their own bioregions and find an astonishing array of plants and other materials that can be used in their own kitchens.
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine is an extraordinary book by a passionate and committed student of nature, and one that will inspire both chefs and adventurous eaters to get creative with their own local landscapes.
About the Author
Pascal Baudar is a professional forager, wild food instructor, and a self-styled "culinary alchemist" based in Los Angeles. His locally sourced wild ingredients and unique preserves have made their way into the kitchens of such star chefs as Ludo Lefebvre, Josiah Citrin, Ari Taymor, Michael Voltaggio, and Chris Jacobson.
Over the years, through his weekly classes and seminars, he has introduced thousands of home cooks, local chefs, and others to the flavors offered by the wild terroir of southern California. He has served as a wild food consultant for several TV shows including MasterChef and Top Chef Duels. He has been featured in numerous TV shows and publications, including Time magazine, The Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, and The New York Times. In 2014, he was named one of the 25 most influential tastemakers in L.A. by Los Angeles magazine.
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