[NPR] Urban Foraging: Unearthing The Wildcrafted Flavors Of Los Angeles



Really good article

Yeah, fun to read about…but basically it’s pimping n/naka, or suggesting you become a forager? Fun read, but basically no one is going to benefit from it right? How many people have the time to be their own foragers? If restaurant chefs don’t do it for people a la Noma, then the fact is, most people don’t have the ability to partake.

Kind of annoying that we have people who move here and forage and write articles but don’t do much of anything about it.

Meanwhile, a forager in Copenhagen started the #1 restaurant in the world. Another in Sweden started a restaurant in the middle of nowhere that is world-renowned and probably the most unique destination restaurant on the planet.

If only people with the knowledge might put their knowledge into action, imagine the things that might result in Los Angeles. All this makes me think of is “Why do Nordic foragers start restaurants and Los Angeles foragers just write articles about foraging?” =/

Pascal is great guy and teaches regular classes (I’ve been) as well as private classes for restaurants. Typically he will pick one restaurant at a time to forage for currently its n/naka before Tois Mec ect… and yes he just wrote a book.

He does not pretend to be a chef.


Why is that random Swedish restaurant the most unique in the world? Lots of people forage and make good restaurants. Ari Taymor used to forage all the time…

Also worked with Pascal…

Ahh so Mr. Pascal is the key man here. Interesting.

Chef’s Table Episode 6.

Clips that sort of explain it if you can spare at least 44 seconds or so. Whether you are a fan of Bourdain or not, his voiceover about it makes it at least a little bit clear why it is so insane.

Usually, anywhere there are great restaurants, it’s because they are in places where there are OTHER things. They are situated in lux hotels, in centers of urban wealth, or cultural centers that bring international tourism, etc…

Maybe these places make art out of their cuisine, but it can be difficult to tell. It might just be good business sense.

But Faviken is literally in a barn in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. If the food sells the location on such a scale, the probability that the chef is making art at least has the appearance of being much greater imo.

Perhaps you will say that it’s just the ultimate indulgence of the wealthy, a farce, and that anyone starting such a restaurant was guaranteed fame and fortune because everyone would go “just to go”…to that I can only suggest watching the full episode of Chef’s Table (or his episodes on Mind of a Chef) to see why that seems unlikely. This is an ok portion of the Chef’s Table episode, but one needs to see the whole thing imo:

Would anyone really want to take that kind of risk, hoping that such a farce would work? Wouldn’t word have gotten out by now that it was all a farce instead of something incredibly unique?

Who knows. The michelin people obviously agree with you and only gave them 2 stars, so perhaps so.

I wonder, what would you say if I asked you what makes Noma so special? Maybe nothing I suppose.

When you say lots of people forage and start restaurants and then cite a failed restaurant as your only example, it does not seem to strengthen the case for LA. I admit, I am totally ignorant… but one would have hoped just such an article as the one this thread is about would have provided some knowledge to the ignorant. The article could have been vastly improved with a list of active chefs that Pascal works with, if such a list exists.

If his only client was Taymor…then it appears LA is not very into foraged food =/ (A huge loss for us; Taymor’s food has always been amazing when I have eaten it, and it’s extraordinarily sad that LA doesn’t seem to be capable of supporting such a restaurant. Maybe there is a bit of resurgence in that vein with the new Kali though? I have a few weeks before I can get there though, so I am ignorant for now).

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Have not been to Noma or Faviken, so I shall refrain from judging them. Let’s be real, Michelin is outdated, a useful reference point, sure, but not anything more. Though my meal at Troisgros which has had three stars for ages was sensational…

Re foraging, I found this article which may be behind a paywall.

Apparently, Pascal has worked with Ari Taymor, Citrin of Melisse and that other place that you liked, CJ Jacobson of Girasol, Ludo, and Niki. So basically five of LA’s top fifty restaurants use this guy and maybe three of their top ten if you want to be generous to Melisse. Not a bad ratio if we’re being honest. So ya, I think LA chefs are doing some cool things with foraging.

Could a restaurant in LA work like Faviken from a simply legal standpoint or would it just be a logistical nightmare regarding licenses, health code, etc. Like you can’t just take all the abalone you want. Are you allowed to serve fish you caught and game you shot straight to the table? I’m wildly ignorant on that stuff, but maybe it wouldn’t be impossible. Who knows?

Tbf in this article he cites Magnus Nilsson as being particularly awesome so it looks like Faviken is pretty cool.

Indeed. That Chef Nilsson can do what he does at Faviken (Michelin-approved or not; he probably gives zero f*cks), in that remote wilderness, and at that latititude, is nothing short of remarkable.

Back to foraging, remember Jordan Kahn’s own garden in that kitchen at Red Medicine back in the day?

Chef’s Table is superior to Mind of a Chef.

i watched the faviken episodes on 'the mind of a chef.'
i’d go there in a heartbeat if i was in sweden and could get a table.
looks like fun to me.

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Ugh long live Jordan Kahn what the hell is he doing these days? Is he coming back to LA?

Very true. Besides - outdated or not - 2 stars is good. A lot of chefs would kill for 2 stars.

I live near the Red Medicine location. You always think you’ll have time to go someplace. One day I drove by and it was gone. That one hurt.