This is an ongoing series of events hosted by culturesgroup. Expect to learn, ask questions, and taste and enjoy great food and drink. Each #kojifest2019 event includes presenters sharing and sampling different kojified, fermented and tasty foods. The events focus on methods and examples of how koji and other microbes can elevate the taste and nutritional benefits of local and regional foods. #vegan
Koji and other microbes are used throughout the world to create local, regional and sustainable food and drinks. They can be used for any food or drink you currently eat, from whatever cuisine you choose.
Koji is the most commonly used word to describe Aspergillus oryzae, a malted mushroom type of microbe that is an enzymatic powerhouse.
Koji has been used for thousands of years unintentionally, and recently with inspired and unique intent to create opportunities for people to share the pleasures and benefits of food and knowledge of how things are made. You might not know how to cook, or even want to, but the artistic, semiotic, cultural, and ethnological background of everything shared during #kojifest2019 will inspire you to become
more curious and become more informed.
culturesgroup is about food and drink making, preservation, fermentation, science, and cultural history. We focus on traditional and novel techniques in cooking, fermenting, brewing and preserving techniques using koji, yeasts, and the tasty bacteria that make pickles. We stress sustainably resourced foods, food safety, digestibility, and maximizing the nutritional profiles of foods.
Mallory O'Donnell - Mallory is a wild food writer and enthusiast, sometime cook and dabbler in creating food based on sustainable and local resources. Inspired by exposure to the worlds working-class cuisines, Mallory cooks globally-influenced cucina povera with an emphasis on homemade staple ingedients, fermentation and simple, traditional techniques. Emphasis is on the wild ingredients reflective of the terroir of the Northeast US, and on creative applications involving neglected or ignored wild ingredients such as bark, roots, wild seeds and spices, pollen, and tree leaves, branches and sap. Many of these open up exciting new avenues when combined with traditional preserving and fermentation techniques, an increasing role in which is being played by koji. Mallory documents food experiments as well as native and invasive wild foods at @mallorylodonnell on Instagram, and www.howtocookaweed.com.
Aline Bessa - Aline Bessa is a fermentation enthusiast, exploring connections between the techniques she's learned in her home country, Brazil, as well as here in New York, with local and sometimes foraged ingredients. In her cooking, fermentation is primarily used as a means to uncover the complex flavors of the ingredients, sometimes not accessible at first sight/smell/taste. In addition to that, preservation techniques help to keep her favorite tropical flavors available year-round, which is particularly important for riffs on Brazilian dishes and cocktails. Finally, fermentation is an important ally in her constant battle against food waste – food byproducts are usually turned into new products in her house. Aline is getting a PhD in Computer Science at NYU and she brings her scientific acumen to all her kitchen experiments.
Ken Fornataro - At age 19 Ken was Executive Chef of The Hermitage in Boston. He used to duck out the back door to Erewhon, where he befriended Aveline and Michio Kushi and fellow macrobiotic practitioners William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi to address world hunger and sustainable agricultural practices through traditional Chinese, Japanese and other Asian practices. Ken was also early on befriended by Julia Child, and Boston based chefs like Leo Romero and Madeleine Kammon who taught him Russian, Japanese, Mexican, French and whole food cooking, preservation and fermentation techniques.