The wild food revolution in Scotland and Arizona


Scottish forager Mark Williams

Inspired by the international success of Danish restaurant Noma, Scotland’s top chefs are sparking a culinary revolution as the country goes wild for naturally foraged wild foods harvested fresh from nature’s larder.

Today I read an interesting story about the wild-food revolution coming to Scotland. I’m told the mushroom collecting there is quite good, and by this account there is a great deal of other tasty stuff free for the picking out in the countryside. My only prior experience with real Scottish food was pretty dire, so this is certainly something appealing to contemplate for my next trip to the land of my ancestors.

Led by René Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred Noma, said by some to be the world’s best restaurant, many chefs around the world are rediscovering humanity’s common heritage of eating what you can find growing wild in nature. Naturally this includes quite a lot of our favorite wild mushrooms in season.

Nephi Craig

(White Mountain Independent)

I’ve heard a bit of chatter about chefs in Arizona starting to do this too.  One who especially comes to mind is Nephi Craig, the executive chef at the Sunrise Park Resort. He is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache tribe, on whose ancestral lands many of our favorite edible mushrooms grow, and a classically-trained chef who used to cook at the well-known Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician. Lately he has been receiving national notice in outlets like NewsweekForbes, and Food & Wine for his innovative use of local ingredients in Native American-inspired fare.

Wednesdays through Saturdays, you can dine in high style on local wild foods at his “Chef’s Table.”  Something to consider for the Saturday evening meal at the Arizona Mushroom Club foray of August 23-24? Or maybe for the weekend after, when I am intending to go up there again…  If you’re interested in taking part, let me know.

I would also note that over the coming weeks, Mr. Craig is offering several wild-food culinary workshops concentrating on Native American ingredients and techniques, which will undoubtedly be of great appeal to many of our our readers. I’ve put them all on the event calendar. You can also watch the following video about these workshops:

If you participate in one of these classes, have dinner at his Chef’s Table, or have eaten at any other restaurants in Arizona where they have done a good job with wild-foraged or exotic mushrooms, please tell us all about it on our Recipes & Restaurants forum or the Facebook page.

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About Christopher May

Chris is a radiologist in private practice in Scottsdale. He is married to Barbara May, with two grown children, Megan and Nick.
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One Response to The wild food revolution in Scotland and Arizona

  1. Pingback: Native American Use of Edible Mushrooms in the Southwest | Arizona Mushroom Forum

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