Bay Area Chef: Mushroom Forager

By Mathew Luschek
|  Friday, Jan 7, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 AM PDT
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Bay Area chef Kory Stewart has mushrooms on the mind. The executive chef of San Francisco's Americano restaurant in the Hotel Vitale, has taken to seeking out mushrooms in the wild, rather than using the usual store-bought ingredient.

Stewart's obsession for mushroom foraging takes him into the woods of San Mateo, to a secret spot he's found. There he harvests one of his favorites - the candy-cap mushroom.

While Americano buys its mushrooms, Stewart enjoys using them for his own cooking experiments, or sells them. Candy-caps can fetch $20 per pound.

Officials in the Peninsula forest would like to remind us that foraging is technically not allowed, primarily in order to preserve the environment of the area.

Stewart's obession has only become stronger over the years, telling The Examiner: “Now when I go to sleep,” he said, “I see mushrooms on my eyelids.”

Maybe Stewart is eating the wrong kind of 'shrooms. Or the right ones.

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