The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir
Wild foods are increasingly popular, as evidenced by the number of new books about identifying plants and foraging ingredients, as well as those written by chefs about culinary creations that incorporate wild ingredients (Noma, Faviken, Quay, Manreza, et al.). The New Wildcrafted Cuisine, however, goes well beyond both of these genres to deeply explore the flavors of local terroir, combining the research and knowledge of plants and landscape 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.
For instance, he uses various 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, one that will inspire both chefs and adventurous eaters to get creative with their own local landscapes.
“As a Southern California native, I grew up with the terroir that I eventually would incorporate into my cuisine at Girasol. Pascal was my spark. The first day Pascal walked through our back kitchen door with a cornucopia of foraged California wild plants and ‘Old World’ recipe vinegars and beers, I knew I had found my voice. Pascal’s seemingly infinite knowledge and passion for what grows in the desert region we live in has truly inspired me. This book is one of a kind, a walk off the beaten trail and an exploration of true wild flavors. Chefs who truly care about finding new ways of expression and commitment to ‘time and place’ cooking will undoubtedly be captivated by it.”–CJ Jacobson, executive chef, Girasol restaurant, and winner of Top Chef Duels
“This gorgeous book will make you salivate and dream. Pascal Baudar is exploring important culinary terrain in his coastal California bioregion, incorporating the incredible diversity he forages into a broad array of foods and drinks in exciting, elegant, and clever ways. Beyond the particulars of what he can harvest there―some which you or I might find where we live, but much of which is very different―it is his methods, ideas, and aesthetics, all of which can be applied much more broadly, that are truly inspirational.”–Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation
“Visually stunning, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine is incredibly impressive, a tour de force, a masterpiece. At long last, an author has truly captured the power and sophistication that wild foods can impart to both our diets and our lives.”–Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of The Lost Language of Plants and Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers
About the Author
Pascal Baudar is a professional forager, wild food instructor, expert food preserver 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, Chris Jacobson and Niki Nakayama. Pascal’s obsession is to rediscover forgotten food and their culinary uses. 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 also 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 LA by Los Angeles Magazine and was a featured speaker at the food event “The Taste”.