CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen:
Reimagining Comfort Food with a Chef Forager

By Chad Hyatt
2018, Chestnut Fed Books
ISBN-10: 1732757100
ISBN-13: 978-1732757103
Paperback, 279 pages, 8 x 10 inches
Images: 69 color and 135 b/w
$28 from

There is a new standard for which all mushroom cookbooks—indeed all foraging and wild food cookbooks—will be measured, henceforth. If you have an interest in mushroom cookery or foraging for the table, you must get this book.

The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen opens up an entire new world of cooking with wild mushrooms that you never imagined possible. From pickles to pork belly, granola to gravlax—even cake and ice cream—you'll find food for any occasion. Forager-chef Chad Hyatt’s new book features 120 recipes that strike a happy balance between innovative new ideas and reimagined classic comfort food. The book focuses squarely on wild mushrooms, with common, well-known, and widelyloved edibles, like porcini, morels, and chanterelles, getting a lot of the attention. Many lesser-known varieties are also explored, and, perhaps most importantly, most recipes contain notes on mushroom substitutions to make them as flexible and adaptable as possible. And then there are the absolutely unknown edibles … besides well-known toxic species, there is almost no mushroom of the forest that Hyatt takes on and finds a way to turn it into something savory and wonderful. Jammed with Jelly Babies? Try them candied. Gobs of Gomphidius? They’re no longer so hideous. Volvopluteus and Clitocybes? Not so nebulous. I’ve tried cooking many mushrooms over the years but this book has definitely expanded my horizons by a mile. And oh yeah, there are personal faves that never seem to make the cut in other mushroom cookbooks, like Huitlacoche (aka corn smut).;

The food is approachable and delicious, and recipes range from simple enough for a beginner to challenging enough to teach something new to seasoned home cooks. The photos are mostly very large, beautiful, and plentiful. (And numerous little mushroom drawings—by Rosa— sprinkled throughout the book—add lots of charm.) Unlike most other cookbooks that are just that: information on how to cook, The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen also provides a lot of great information on the mushrooms themselves. And how they work in the kitchen and how to recognize what they bring to the dish. This will allow the mushroom chef to make substitutions. Probably my favorite aspect of this book (and in being in the kitchen with Hyatt, as my luck has afforded me on a few occasions), is that he encourages substitution with other mushrooms in every dish. Try new things. Have fun with it!

Mushroom newbies and expert foragers alike will broaden their mushroom knowledge and find plenty of new cooking ideas for whatever mushrooms are available, whether from the local market or the forest, with The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen. Highly recommended!

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi