Ep. 19: Fascinated by Fungi - Foraged Cuisine, Science Communication & the Hidden Universe of Yeast (feat. Dr. Gordon Walker)

Today on Mushroom Hour we have the honor of speaking with the distinguished Dr. Gordon Walker. Gordon boasts a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from UC Davis and has had a passion for wild mushroom hunting that began at the tender age of 5.

Traveling to Napa County California, the heart of US wine country, we'll learn about the amazing powers of yeast, a fungi you may not even know is a fungi! We'll get a window from an expert into the complex, hidden ecosystem that is active on the microscopic level and the sequences of ecological succession at work that are responsible for some of humanity's most cherished culinary inventions - bread, wine and beer. How do yeasts actually power the different fermentation processes of wine, beer, kombucha and others? And how are yeasts, and fungi more broadly, being used to create the future of alternative proteins?

With his talent of communicating scientific information in a very digestible form, Gordon helps us understand some technical points when it comes to kingdom fungi. What are the differences between the two major fungi groupings of basidiomycota and ascomycota? How are species more fluid of a grouping system than we may think when it comes to fungi? What can fungi populations in general tell us about biodiversity and divergent evolution?

After we go out foraging for some of his favorite mushrooms, we get into the kitchen and learn some secrets from this Instagram and Tik Tok superstar about cooking with mushrooms. Gordon breaks down some basic principles of heat, moisture and fat content that we can all utilize that will turn our wild foraged finds into homemade delicacies.

Thanks for listening and Mush Love!   

Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour 

Music by: Ancient Baby   
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano 

Episode Resources  
Fascinated by Fungi IG: https://www.instagram.com/fascinatedbyfungi/
Fascinated by Fungi website: https://fascinatedbyfungi.com/
Fascinated by Fungi Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@fascinatedbyfungi

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