Schedule/Links/Money for May 23, 2020

Welcome! On Saturday May 23, 2PM EST to 11:30 PM EST you have to call into each Session when it opens at the scheduled time. No one wanted to stay on a 7 1/2 hour call/event so it was broken up into 3 sessions. Click the name of the session below, and it will take you to the Zoom event. You need a password for each session. They are below.

Note: You will be muted upon entering. You can use the chat. The co-hosts will monitor it for questions. Do not post off topic chat notes or try to advertise anything during any session. You will be blocked from chatting if you do.

You can’t upload files. You can’t share your screen. The co-hosts will decide if you get unmuted. But, that really creates a lot of noise and ruins the recording according to the people that are attempting to record this. Please do not ask about recordings again. Thank You for your interest!

SESSION 1 – Password: MKF1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments 2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST. Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 822 9354 4287

SESSION 2 – Password: MKF2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

SESSION 3 – Password: CF1 Cultivos y Fermentos – 9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST Meeting ID: 833 1798 7281


There are two ways to send money to support our work. Make a donation of $20 or more US dollars. Venmo or PayPal will give you a receipt. You don’t get a payment confirmation from us. Again, the links and password for May 23 are above.


Zymes 2020 – May 23, 2020

To REGISTER click on the word REGISTER.

SESSION 1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST

Tepary Bean, Corn and Pepino Tempeh from Ferment.Works

SESSION 2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST

SESSION 3 Cultivos y FermentosMeeting ID: 833 1798 7281

9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST

This is the second of a monthly or bi-monthly series of culturesgroup’s Zymes2020 program. Our first event has been recorded at our Vimeo site. Although there are already planned events for the series, it is our goal to not publicize these until the previous event has been finalized.

Check Cultures.Group‘s latest videos:


Session Recordings – Cultured & Cured

All Session recordings are at our vimeo site.

Session 2Cultured & Cured

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Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.


Flavor of Hands and Koji 101

Flavor of Hands Fermentation and Koji 101 – Session #1. All times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 4:00 to 4:30 PM – Opening Chef Ken Fornataro
  • 4:30 to 5:00 – Chef Rick Porter Sowden
  • 5:00 to 5:30 – Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey
  • 5: 30 to 6:00 – Marcus Im

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Using Microbes to Preserve/Ferment/Extend Food Resources

How Bacteria, fungus and other microbes can keep your food and drink safe and tasty. Also, how pickling, fermenting and kojifying food can help to use things that would otherwise not be edible such as beans, vegetables, and inexpensive meat or fish.

Chef Ken Fornataro has a vast knowledge of the science and techniques that all but disappeared with the industrialization of food. Ken’s knowledge of microbiology and rigorous methodology has helped him greatly in the kitchen where he employs koji and bacteria and enzymes to create tasty and nutritious food and beverages. He is currently the Executive Chef/CEO (pro bono) of https://Cultures.Group

Golden Millet Koji with A.oryzae and R.oryzae

All Koji isn’t Created Equal

Chef Rick Porter Sowden will offer a Koji 101 primer for professional Chefs, cooks, and hobbyists that believe they know koji. 

Rick Porter Sowden is a Chef, Charcutier, Culinary Mycologist, and Food Technologist with Native Son Koji, a Native American owned and operated company. Native Son Koji designed, developed and adapted equipment for a modern, semi automated, in-house koji making process based on traditional standards & practices. The products and proprietary processes they developed and perfected are unique, as such, are not replicated anywhere else, in the world. 

Sour Corn in the time of Corona

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey will talk about fermented corn. Obviously. Sofkee is a fermented corn drink or porridge (grits and mush). Typically consumed by indigenous peoples of the Southeast, and the loss of the tradition amongst the Haudenosaunee. I’ll talk a bit about how to make it, and the rediscovery of lost traditions amongst indigenous people. 

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey is Executive Chef/Instructor/Co-Founder of Local Pop, Augusta Boucherie and Corn Mafia.

American Kimchi & Sohn-Mat – Making kimchi authentic to your self and environment

As a first-generation American, the exploration of authenticity is a life-long journey. What does it mean to be authentically Korean and American at the same time? Food, locality, and wild fermentation allows for the bubbly celebration of our cultures. There is as authentic American kimchi as Korean.

A Korean concept called “sohn-mat” literally translates to “flavor of hands”. It’s used colloquially to compliment a chef for their oustanding cooking, but traditionally, it carries a connotation encouraging the use of your hands. The wisdom of “sohn-mat” especially rings true in kimchi making, where the maker’s unique touch becomes their signature. 

Marcus Im is a Korean-American fermentation fanatic, teacher, and writer currently in Brooklyn. 

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Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Cultured & Cured

Cultured and Cured Session #2 Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • Introduction of Session – Sandor Katz
  • 6:00 to 6:30 PM – Alex Gunuey and Amy Kalafa of
  • 6:30 to7:00 – Dr. Johnny Drain
  • 7:00 to 7:30 – Dr. Darra Goldstein
  • 7: 30 to 8:00 – Dr. Ken Albala

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Cultured & Cured

Cultured & Cured explores the art and science of cultivating microbes for good health and fabulous flavors. Featuring top professionals in the world of fermentation, brewing, curing and pickling, Cultured & Cured goes beyond food trends, illuminating the biological activities that make food naturally delicious and super-nutritious.

Chef Ken Fornataro of Cultures.Group with Amy Kalafa

Amy Kalafa is a long-time advocate for sustainable food. Her award-winning film, Two Angry Moms created a media sensation and ignited a nationwide movement for better food in schools, resulting in food policy reform locally and nationally. Amy’s book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health (Tarcher-Penguin / Random House) was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award.  She’s been a writer, producer and editor for Martha Stewart Living and Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy PBS series and appeared as a guest chef on the PBS series Cultivating Life. Amy has an MBA in Sustainability. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and holds a Lectureship at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry.

Co-Host Alexander Gunuey won a James Beard Award as Broadcast Producer for the PBS series Lidia’s Italy. He won an Emmy Award as Senior Editor for Martha Stewart Living and is acclaimed as the editor of A Tribute to Julia Child. Alex is a chef and a specialist in traditional French food preservation from confit and terrine to cornichon and confiture. At the invitation of the Obama’s chef Sam Katz, Alex visited the White House on behalf of Chefs Move to Schools along with Marcus Samuelson, Bea Smith and 1000 other American chefs.  Alex is a co-founder (with Amy Kalafa) of the east coast’s first Certified Organic poultry and game bird farm, Animal Farm. Their innovations in pasture ranging and herbal diets drove demand from Dean & Delucca, Anthony Bourdain, and numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City.

Dr Johnny Drain: researcher, fermenter and food designer. Master of microbes!

MOLD and/or creating tasty things from food waste

Johnny creates delicious things for the world’s best restaurants, bars, and food brands. He’s a world expert in fermentation, using it as a tool to amplify flavour, create new products and increase sustainability. He writes and speaks about the future of food and challenges in global food systems through his work with MOLD, a critically acclaimed editorial platform about designing the future of food.

Combining his PhD in Materials Science from Oxford and years of cooking experience, his clients and collaborators have included the Nordic Food Lab (established by Noma), the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture, Mirazur (#1, World’s 50 Best 2019), and Dandelyan (#1, World’s 50 Best Bars 2018). He set up the Cub Cave in London to provide research and ferments for Cub, founded by drinks wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana, and zero-waste chef Douglas McMaster’s restaurant Silo, using innovative techniques to turn food waste and by-products into delicious things to eat and drink.

Exploring how to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050, MOLD works with next generation food brands, commissions products from emerging designers, and has run summits for Copenhagen’s TechFest. A visionary voice on the future of food, it was described by the New York Times as “one to watch” in a new generation of independent food magazines.

Darra Goldstein (Photo by Stefan)

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore

The founding editor of Gastronomica, talks about her new cookbook, Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore, and Russian practices of fermentation, which go back over a thousand years. Most people are familiar with lacto-fermented vegetables like dill pickles, sauerkraut, and salted mushrooms, but the Russians also ferment fruits like apples, watermelon, and tomatoes in a light brine that yields a beautiful wine-like flavor. Russians are perhaps most famous for kvass, a lightly fermented alcoholic drink most often made from stale black bread. It can also be made from fruits and vegetables. 

Dr. Darra Goldstein has spent much of the last four decades falling in love with Scandinavia; its people, its landscape, and most of all, its food. She is the founding editor of the James Beard Award-winning journal Gastronomica and a professor of Russian at Williams College. Goldstein has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Georgian Feast, which won the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award. She lives in Williamstown Massachusetts.

Living with Microbes

In the past century modern society has waged a speciesist war against bacteria, fungi and molds. Assuming the only good microbe is a dead one, we wiped them off our countertops, out of our soil and nearly purged them completely from our bodies. There are of course pathogenic germs and “good” microbes that have been used for millenia, but it is only recently that we have begun to appreciate what we have lost in terms of the pre-pasteurian food supply. Award winning historian Ken Albala will ramble on about bread, cheese, cured meat, pickles and answer any questions you have about the very unscientific approach to living with microbes. 

Dr. Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he teaches food history and the history of early modern Europe. He is also a Visiting Professor at Boston University, where he teaches an advanced food history course in the gastronomy program. He earned an M.A. in History from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Professor Albala is the author or editor of 16 books on food. His four-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia was published in 2011. He is also coeditor of the journal Food, Culture & Society and general editor of the series AltaMira Studies in Food and Gastronomy, for which he has written a textbook titled Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, which won the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. In 2009, he won the Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of the Pacific. Other books include Eating Right in the Renaissance; Food in Early Modern Europe; Cooking in Europe, 1250-1650; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; and the award-winning Beans: A History. He also coedited Food and Faith in Christian Culture and A Cultural History of Food in the Renaissance, among other books.nd co-authored “The Lost Art of Real Cooking” and “The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home.”

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Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments

Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments Session #3 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 8:00 to 8:30 PM – Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing
  • 8:30 to 9:00 – Chef Sean Doherty
  • 9:00 to 9:30 – Mallory O’Donnell

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Hops, Brewing and Fermenting

Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett of Fifth Hammer Brewing 

Listen and watch a uniquely talented brewer and fermenter, co-owner of Fifth Hammer Brewing Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing along with his equally brilliant brewing and fermenting partner Mary Izett. 

You can still get some of their amazing brews in Long Island City. And hopefully someday have another meeting with all the incredible fermenters and microbe wranglers that meet there only due to the generosity of The Fifth  Hammer Brewing team. Chris and Mary also host “Ferment About It! (Fuhmentaboudit!), aims to demystify the art of home fermentation with a primary focus on home brewing beer. Chris and Mary take listeners on a journey through fermentation, sharing history, practical methods, recipes and anecdotes from personal experience as well as from those of guest fermenters both amateur and pro.”

Thai Fermented meat called Naem (sour) using Beef and Fish

The Thai fermented meat preparation that Chef Sean Doherty will demonstrate is called Naem (sour). He will use both a beef tri tip and a filet of Cobia. This type of fermentation employs lactic acid bacteria so it’s essentially a “souring” taking place. The meat/fish are safely preserved by these (food safe)bacteria which is possible through precise ratio of salt combined with sticky rice plus fresh garlic. After the items are sufficiently fermented, they can be grilled, deep fried, etc., with no need to rinse off the cure. This only contributes to the flavor, becoming crispy and deeply satisfying. This is a relatively unknown method that could very well be the next “umami bomb”.aem (sour) using Beef and Fish. 

Chef Sean Doherty earned a Grande Diplome from the renowned Le Cordon Bleu program in 2004. Having worked with great chefs such as Larry Matthews Jr. at Back Bay Grill and Melissa Kelly at Primo, Sean was tapped by Harding Lee Smith to be the opening Chef of two of his successful restaurants: The Corner Room and The Oyster Room at Boone’s Fish House shortly after. Sean has spent the last ten+ years learning the ‘oldways and traditions of food preservation’ which includes fermentation, foraging, baking, and brewing; with a strong focus on Asian pathways (koji, miso, soy sauce, garum and vinegars). He now resides in Brunswick with his wife, two daughters, and countless culinary experiments. 

How to Ferment a Tree – Wild Food Fermentation with ingredients from the Trees – Flowers, Conifer Needles and Tips, Ornamental Flowers, Sap, and Syrup

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and Mallory O’Donnell is a wild food gatherer, cook, writer and teacher who focuses on sustainable and ethical ingredients. Many of the most abundant foods come from ornamental or invasive plants,  common garden weeds, and native or introduced trees. These ingredients not only tend to be the most nutritious but also are often the most culinarily intriguing. Items like the Japanese sansai taranome (collected from the invasive Aralia elata), the sap, flowers and leaves of the Norway Maple, and the flowers of ornamental quince, cherry and crabapple trees can and should be used by both enthusiastic amateurs and world-class chefs. When it comes to fermentation, these ingredients also excel, providing exciting flavors that can be added to conventional ferments as well as used to create unique original concoctions.

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Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Fermenting with Flowers, Fungus and Bacteria

Session #4 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 9:30 to 10 PM – Kirsten Shockey
  • 10:00 to 10:30PM – Alex Henao
  • 10 30 to 11 PM – Heidi Nestler 
  • 11:00 to 11:30 PM – Josh Hembree
  • 12 to 12:30 PM – Alex Lewin

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.

Flower Yeasts to make Alcohol and Vinegar

Kirsten to discuss how to make vinegar and alcohol from yeast collected from flowers.

Kirsten Shockey is an author, writer, educator and speaker who has co-authored 3 books including “Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments”, and two others that are available through the https://Ferment.Works website or any independent bookstore. They just started an online fermentation school at . Their first course is out: “May Flowers bring June Brews. Learn to harvest wild yeast for delicious wild brews.” It includes 11 videos and a 20 page mini-book workbook. 

Ferment.Works Tempeh (look for the upcoming online class!)

How to preserve and add digestive value to foods using Koji products

Alex Henao is a chef by trade. Mostly self-taught, he is always striving to learn from new people, anyone willing to share and from unconventional sources. Over the past few years, Alex has been interested in the micro world around us we so unknowingly depend on, and the chemistry of bacterial and enzymatic fermentation. Mostly focused on preventing food waste, and promoting Indigenous type food systems emphasizing food sovereignty, local community farmers and keeping most food in the local markets, and of course broader trading of excess and regional specialties.

Making natto with soy and other beans

hoto by: @sandrinehahnperez

Natto truly is a superfood superstar.  Typically eaten as part of a traditional Japanese breakfast, natto is rich in Vitamin K2 and the enzyme nattokinase, which are important for bone and cardiovascular health.  Natto is also highly probiotic and has been used for centuries in Japan as a folk remedy for an upset stomach.  Heidi will show how she makes natto using soybeans and other beans.  Also she will share some recipe ideas- both traditional and more unexpected. 

Heidi Nestler is the owner of Wanpaku Natto and one of the organizers of the Portland Fermentation Festival, now in its 11th year.  She also teaches fermentation and cooking at the non-profit Quest Center for Integrative Health in Portland, Oregon.

Sake, Sake Lees and Fermentation

A presentation on sake, sake lees and fermentation. 

Josh Hembree is an American sake brewer at Setting Sun Sake (

Covid Cabbage and Confinement Kvass

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and ingredients. Sauerkraut is a great way to keep a vitamin- and enzyme-rich raw vegetable food for years, without the need for refrigeration. Kvass is a versatile fermented health tonic that can also be used as the basis for soups, as a cocktail mixer, and much more.

Alex Lewin is the author of “Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen” and the co-author of “Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond”.

Alex will demo sauerkraut and kvass, talk about ways to eat them, provide lots of context, connect the dots with the current challenges in the world, and answer any questions.

Seeking to remove barriers to home fermentation, he offers simple processes and recipes that are easy to execute in home kitchens, using as little special equipment as possible.

More generally, he seeks to create a healthier, tastier, and more just world by spreading the good news about fermentation and nutrient-dense real food. He leads fermentation classes and workshops in the US and abroad. He served on the opening board of the Boston Public Market, an indoor, year-round market selling only local food. He has also been involved with the Boston Fermentation Festival since the beginning.

He believes that applying high technology to food has caused many of the problems of the last hundred years, and that applying more high-tech may not help: part of the path forwards is a return to low-tech foodways. He lives in Cambridge, MA and Oakland, CA.

Check out our new videos:

Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

Mushrooms and Koji

#KojiFest2019 is an ongoing series of events hosted by culturesgroup ( Expect to learn, ask questions, and taste and enjoy. April 13th at RESOBOX on East 3rd Street in New York City. A multi course tasting event with three wild sages and experienced microbe wranglers. #kojifest2019 #veganevent 

Porcini Black Trumpet and Leek Nuta with Homemade Miso, Vinegar & Wild Seed Mustard @malloryodonell

Kumquat, Carrot and Red Pepper Pickles

Wild Greens Pkhali

Pkhali is the traditional Georgian paté of vegetables such as spinach or leeks, in this case its going to be a mix of wild greens probably nettles, mustard and herbs like pushki and wild chervil.  Depending on what Mallory has on hand and what he can gather it will probaly include these ingredients: Wild mustards (garlic mustard, wild cabbage and dames rocket), nettles, wild chervil, field garlic, ground elder / walnuts, garlic, Georgian spices (blue fenugreek, coriander, chiles) a splash of homemade vinegar and a dash of black walnut oil. 

Wild Greens Pkhali @malloryodonnell

Aline Bessa,

Aline Bessa is a baker, cook and food waste sage. She constan tly thrills people @bichobk with her breads, ferments and other tings that include yuca. Yuca is the energy source for at least 400 million people around the world. Aline will discuss – and sample – some of the tastiest ways the plant is used.

Yuca @culturesgroup

Aline will discuss how to ferment this root with various ingredients in multiple ways to create flavors ranging from cheeselike, to nutty or fruity. For every thing described, there will be an accompanying dish so that it will be easier to understand the process better.

Resobox Space at East 3rd Street in the East Village in New York City @resobox

Yuca Ferments

Miso soup with tucupi (a fermented yuca broth), szechuan buttons (jambu), culantro and goma

Yuca rolls (vegan pães de queijo) stuffed with nut cheese made with sour tapioca starch (polvilho azedo) miso

Puba (fermented yuca) pudding with miso caramel

There will be a yuca-based “cachaça” for the adults, too. Its name is tiquira.

Vegan Braised Beef Brisket made of mushrooms and yuca flour @culturesgroup

Yuca Flour (farinha)

@bichobk describes: “How many types of farinha (yuca flour) have you used? Farinha can be readily found here in the United States, either at Brazilian stores or online, but almost without exception these come loaded with artificial additives.

It is incredibly hard to find farinha from the North or Northeast of Brazil here, especially of any quality. In Bahia we use farinha de guerra. When we run out of it, we use cassava garri from the Nigerian store up the street.

We also have farinha d’agua from the North of Brazil, and farinha ovinha de Uarini, a gift from our friend @raonilourenco These are all artisanal products, and they all share the same ingredients: yuca. “

Rice Koji for making sake shio koji, shoyu koji, amasake, pickles and sake @culturesgroup We’ll have some freshly made at the event! Along with misos and sauces and pickles and surprises.

KojiFest 2019 – Spring

Sweet Corn Sourdough Bread

Koji Fest 2019 is an ongoing series of events hosted by culturesgroup ( Expect to learn, ask questions, and taste and enjoy.

The events focus on methods and examples of how koji and other microbes are used throughout the world in many cuisines to elevate the taste and nutritional benefits of local and regional foods.

Koji is the most commonly used word to describe Aspergillus oryzae, a malted mushroom type of microbe that is an enzymatic powerhouse. There are other types of koji that are members of the Aspergillus family that have their own unique characteristics.

Enzymes and other byproducts produced by koji are creating solutions fordealing with environmental toxinsand even human disease. We focus on te amazing taste sensations and the layers of flavor that koji can create through rapid, or traditional methods.

Presenters will provide tastings of foods that use koji or other fermentation techniques. These include misos, shoyu, shio-koji and how the enzymes created by koji can quickly or over time create incredible tastes and nutritional benefits.

Some things will be lightly dressed with a probiotic rich sauce, others will be deeply flavored misos or sauces that highlight a fresh ingredient or can be eaten on top of or in cooked grains, beans, vegetable based proteins and even desserts.  

Mushroom cured and fermented to taste like bacon

Depending on what is available the day before the event we plan to have, perhaps with a few substitutions these things garnished with accompaniements.

  • Traditional three year old miso
  • Sweet simmered miso
  • Black beans with smoked mushroom bacon
  • Greens with cashew, garlic, herb pesto
  • Tucupi miso soup (a fermented yuca broth, szechuan buttons (jambu), cilantro and spring vegetable. 
  • Nut cheese using miso made with sour tapioca starch
  • Yucca rolls (vegan pães de queijo)
  • Puba (fermented yucca) pudim with miso caramel
  • Pickles (kumquat and carrot, shio-koji cucumbers, tempero baiano style mushrooms). 
  • Rice, garnished (spiced peanuts, date and ginger douchi, gomashio bahia). 
  • Corn chips, seasoned

Joining Chef Ken Fornataro for this event.

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

Roast garlic, cashew and cilantro pesto

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.


Worchestershire sauce

Most things labeled as Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies, a type of fish that people trying to avoid animal products don’t want to consume.

We created a vegan sauce – no animal products including honey and fish – that you can pretty quickly assemble yourself if you don’t want to buy any of the existing vegan or vegetarian sauces typically available at health food stores or online.

This version is the faster version of one that uses koji and takes a few months to ferment. It’s just as good in things you are cooking, or in which it doesn’t really play a major role. It’s also great when using it with meat or any recipe that a vegan wouldn’t be interested in eating. So, try it. We use it in our vegan mushroom bacon.

½ cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 cup brown rice vinegar

¼ cup organic tamari or soy sauce

¼ cup unsulphured dark molasses

3 TB Umesu (umeboshi plum vinegar)

1 TB tamarind paste or other sour fruit paste

1 TB hot asian mustard powder

1 TSP ginger powder

3 TB very dark aged miso

3 TB dried onion flakes

1/3 TSP cinnamon

½ TSP garlic powder (or several fresh smashed)

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ TSP powdered cloves

½ TSP ground white pepper

A few pieces dried citrus peel, preferably orange, toasted

1/4 tsp dried seaweed powder (kombu, wakame, anything but Irish Moss or other gelling types )

Simmer very slowly for 15 minutes, at which time it should be about to boil.  

Let cool down below 140F, just not colder than tepid)

Add ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (4 to 5 % acidity)

1 TSP sweet smoked paprika

½ TSP alleppo pepper flakes or ground black pepper

1 TB dark miso

Stir well and let sit until room temperature. Strain, saving solids. Bottle and refrigerate sauce for up to 6 months. Or add a tablespoon of sea salt and it will last at 72F for at least three months unless you use it alot.

We’ll provide recipes this is used in besides our mushroom bacon (recipe below) after this described event.

April 13th Event in NYC

April 13th at RESOBOX ( you can experience a multi course tasting event. #kojifest2019 #veganevent

Each #kojifest2019 event includes different guest presenters and participants sharing and sampling different handmade, regional fermented and traditional foods, most made with a koji-centric item such as miso, shio-koji, amasake or tamari.

Enroll for information about all related events, or register for events at the culturesgroup MeetUp site.


Mushroom Bacon (vegan)

The cool thing about the marinade for this dressing is that it can be used with a few different types of mushrooms, or on a snack like roasted beans or even popcorn. Just don’t go overboard with the marinade if you don’t intend to use it for the amount specified in the recipe.

The mushrooms don’t have to be pre-treated other than washed and de-stemmed if using shiitake, but if you marinate them for over 15 minutes they will start to really produce water that will dilute the intensity of the taste.

If you don’t have maple syrup, coconut palm syrup or dark brown sugar work as well. Use the palm if you want it less sweet, though. We used the liquid smoke version here because most people don’t have smokers or want to do the stove top thing – easy in a wok or stove top steamer we smoke our nut cheeses in – and it works just as well.

There are quite a few decent brands out there, make sure they don’t contain stuff you do not want to eat. You can also use unsalted smoke powder – sparingly – to create the liquid smoke, or just add it to the marinade.

Use either portobello mushrooms or shitake mushrooms sliced like bacon, or even crimini or button mushrooms. Either way, this marinade is for 2 pounds after cleaning. Some mushrooms may need to be drained after the first trip to the frying pan. Then re-sauteed with something sweet and tamari.

We like to save the marinade if the mushrooms have been hanging out a while and deglazing the pan and reducing the liquid afterwards. If you want to resaute these right before using to crisp them up or just do them ahead of time do that.

Make sure there is more oil than liquid on them, adding some extra oil to store. Maybe 1 TB or 2. Not more unless you’ll be throwing them into a hash brown potato or root vegetable dish. Later for that.

2 LB portabello mushrooms

2 TSP liquid smoke

1/4 cup soy sauce (tamari if GF)

1 TB maple syrup

1/4 cup frying quality olive oil (not EVOO)

1 TB Worchestershire sauce (vegan recipe from culturesgroup above

1/2 tsp toasted and ground coriander seeds

6 TB olive oil or high temp substitute

Cooking the mushrooms: Get pan hot and add oil. Add mushrooms with tongs. Do not overcrowd the pan. Careful of splattering although there should not be more than 2 TB oil in your pan. Fry them like strips of bacon – obviously not layout bacon – that turn over after a few minutes for even browning. Don’t overbrown.

You will need to do two to three batches. Have each batch draining on absorbent paper. Don’t stack them on top of each other. Make sure the pan, wiped out if necessary, reheats after each batch and new oil is added.

After all the mushrooms have been cooked reheat the pan and add ther mushrooms over high heat. Add 2 TB maple syrup and 2 TB tamari and glaze the mushrooms quickly. Remove from pan.

Use right away or lay out and keep warm. Drying this out only makes them better, as long as most of the water is already out.

Ginger Date Black Koji Hamma Natto, a super garnish for rice. This is onbe of three major types of natto. This one uses koji, not a bacteria called Bacillus subtillis.