Are more people leaving stressful, fast-paced careers to start a simpler, rewarding life as a food producer? Articles are popping up all over the world about people ditching the corporate rat race and transitioning to traditional food making. An article from Japan Times details the story of a couple who left tech jobs in Tokyo to make miso in the country. Yu Maeda and Michinori are now taking over a 34-year-old Oshikida brand miso, an additive-free miso producer. Their miso is made by mixing cooked soybeans with kōji fermentation starter, salt and water.

Read more (Japan Times) 

Blending ancestral kitchen traditions and new scientific research will allow fermentation to change our diet — and our planet.

In a TEDx Talk, Mara King, co-founder of fermented food store Ozukè, shares why she is proudly releasing trillions of good bacteria into the population. Her food philosophy rubs against everything the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments practice. While government agencies enforce strict sanitation standards in the name of protecting American’s food, King preaches that it’s wiping out good bacteria and dumping more toxins into the environment.

When King and co-founder Willow King (no relation) opened their Colorado-based food business, a food scientist from the Denver office of the Health & Human Services Department performed a safety inspection. The food expert was confused by Ozukè’s live, fermented pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi. King: “He said ‘Your product is so weird. We follow all these FDA guidelines in food manufacturing in order to diminish bacteria and here you are making it on purpose.’”

“The food we make is actually super, super, super safe, unlike mots processed packaged fresh foods,” King says. “The reason this food is so safe is not because I’m better at this antimicrobial Macarena than anybody else. It’s because the bacteria are doing the work of making the fermented foods pretty much bomb proof.”

Though numerous cultures have been fermenting for generations (“It’s how humans have been eating raw, crunchy vegetables all through hard winters.”), King notes it’s only in the last 10 years that scientists have been able to map the complex fermentation process. By letting bacteria thrive in its own ecosystem, it “creates a food that’s no longer harmful to humans” and makes a more nutritious product.

“Nature does not operate in a vacuum and neither should we,” King says. “We need to understand the complexity of the world in which we live, then we can start to come up with solutions that do honor our heritage.”

King, who great up in Hong Kong, says older Chinese women store an impressive knowledge of food and medicine. Merging ancient tradition with new science is what will create the living solutions needed to continue living on our planet.

“In fermentation, we have a little trick that we use which is called using a started culture or a mother. I believe that our starter culture…is our human cultural history,” King says. “Once we start tapping this information…we’ll start to come up with amazing solutions, solutions that grow, solutions that rot, solutions that breath.”

Today Ozuke (which means “the best pickled things” in Japanese) still makes pickled veggies, but also teaches fermentation workshops. For more information, visit their webpage.

Today’s food is packaged in so much plastic that humans now regularly consume plastic molecules in their food. A Polish design student created Scoby packaging, an edible and recyclable packaging that farmers can grow to wrap products. The zero waste biological tissue is a similar texture to animal tissue used to encapsulate sausage or salami, but Scoby is vegetarian and can be grown with a simple chemical process student Roza Janusz of the School of Form in Poznan, Poland invented. The process is similar to making kombucha, and the fermentation growth time per sheet is two weeks.

Read more (Fast Company)

Female leadership is sparse in the craft beer industry – just 17% are CEOs and 21% are executives. Tanisha “T” Robinson talks about breaking the glass ceiling as the female CEO of BrewDog’s U.S. operations. Robinson says there is a huge demographic opportunity to draw in more women and people of color to the industry. “If craft brewers could figure out how to authentically connect to women and people of color, they could sell a lot more beer,” she said. “That’s something that I highly doubt most craft brewers are talking about or thinking about, but it’s something that is important to me — that craft beer should be open and accessible and authentic and approachable for everyone.” She says partnerships, events and collaborations are a great step.

Read more (MarketWatch) (Photo: BrewDog)

The Art of Making Traditional Miso

Today most miso is industrially produced, but one of the most popular miso vendors in Los Angeles still uses traditional Japanese techniques to ferment miso paste, “recapturing the individuality of miso” according to the Los Angeles Times. Ai Fujimoto, who owns Omiso restaurant in the Hollywood Farmers Market, has fermented over 350 pounds of handmade soybean paste this year. The paste ferments for a few months for a light miso and ferments for over a year for dark miso. Each batch is different, “That’s what I love about it” Fujimoto says. She rents space at a commercial, shared-use kitchen to make her soybean paste. She enjoys experimenting with new recipes, even using recipes from YouTube videos.

Read more (LA Times) https://goo.gl/72muVk

Business advice from the No. 2 pickle brand in the nation: hire the right high-level people, use creative marketing and sell a fresh product rather than one packed with preservatives. Grillo’s Pickles owner Travis Grillo talked with Yahoo Finance about growing his business from humble beginnings as a pickle street cart in Boston to a brand now sold in Whole Foods and Target, netting $25 million in sales a year. Travis said some of the most well-known pickle brands are made with chemicals for a long shelf life. But Grillo’s is made fresh with an all-natural, fourth-generation family recipe.

Read more (Yahoo Finance) (Photo: Grillo’s Pickles)

René Redzepi and David Zilber’s new book, “The Noma Guide to Fermentation,” could have been a vegetarian cookbook, since vegetarianism is trending. That would have been easy. But Redzepi “was very adamant that fermentation is a field that’s going to keep growing, and a book like this is going to help push it forward.” Fermented ingredients now surpass foraged ingredients as “the most important elements” in the pantry at Noma, the fine-dining restaurant in Copenhagen that has been named the world’s best restaurant four times.

Read more (Washington Post)

René Redzepi and David Zilber will speak across the U.S. on their book tour. Redzepi (chef and co-owner of Noma in Copenhagen, recognized as one of the world’s best restaurants) and Zilber (chef at Nima who runs the fermentation lab) will talk about their new book “The Noma Guide to Fermentation.” The book is also available for preorder on Amazon. Here’s a list of their full tour:

Sunday, October 14 – Toronto

7:00 p.m. at The Isabel Bader Theatre

Presented in partnership with Indigo Books & Music

Details and tickets here

 

Monday, October 15 – Seattle

6:30 p.m. at The SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Presented in partnership with Book Larder

Details and tickets here

 

Tuesday, October 16 – San Francisco

7:00 p.m. at JCCSF

Presented in partnership with Omnivore Books

Details and tickets here

 

Wednesday, October 17 – Los Angeles

8:00 p.m. at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre

Presented in partnership with Barnes & Noble

Details and tickets here

 

Friday, October 19 – Minneapolis

6:30 p.m. at the American Swedish Institute

Details and tickets here

 

Saturday, October 20 – Chicago

3:00 p.m. at Venue West

Presented in partnership with Read It and Eat

Details and tickets here

 

Monday, October 22 – New York

7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y

Presented in partnership with Kitchen Arts & Letters

Details and tickets here

 

Tuesday, October 23 – Washington, DC

7:00 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium

Presented in partnership with Politics & Prose

Details and tickets here

 

Wednesday, October 24 – Philadelphia

7:30 p.m. at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Presented in partnership with Joseph Fox Bookshop

Details and tickets here

 

Meet David Zilber – Additional tour dates

Please note the following dates are with appearances by author David Zilber only:

 

Thursday, October 25 – Philadelphia

10:00 a.m. David Zilber in conversation with Jeff Gordinier, Esquire food editor, at Drexel University

Details and tickets here

 

Friday, October 26 – Boston

12:30 p.m. David Zilber in conversation with Dr. Pia Sorensen, Harvard University Lecturer on Science and Cooking, at

First Parish Church, Cambridge

Presented in partnership with Porter Square Books

Details and tickets here

 

Saturday, October 27 – Montréal

2:00 p.m David Zilber in conversation with chef Jonathan Cheung at Appetite for Books

Details and tickets here


Where do fermentation and mixology meet? Fermentation guru Alex Lewin and author of “Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond” is sharing his techniques at Culture Club 101 in Pasadena on Oct. 7. Alex will share the history of fermented drinks, their health benefits and demo fermented drink creations. Join us Oct. 7 act Culture Club 101 in Pasadena.

Read more (Culture Club)