Eating on the Wild Side: Is it the Next Big Real Foods Trend?
Here in Maine, eating wild foods, either through hunting, fishing or foraging has long been a cultural pastime. But when you look to the mainstream, it seems that many Americans have either forgotten, or not yet fully embraced, the idea of eating wild foods, despite the fact that many of them – like Wild Blueberries, wild mushrooms and common greens are right at their fingertips. Thankfully, many cultures in Europe and regions within the United States still engage in the enjoyment of wild foods, and today there are a growing number of spirited chefs who are taking wild foods to the highest culinary levels.
One such chef is David Levi at Vinland who is creating a stunning range of inspired small plates in his beautiful Portland, Maine restaurant. Chef David is part of a community of Maine chefs who are courageously experimenting with local foods and opening their own restaurants at a dizzying pace. Many of these chefs are using significant quantities of wild foods, including seaweed, seafood, wild mushrooms, and Wild Blueberries.
Chef David recently created an exquisite five-course meal for an event in New York City using Wild Blueberries in nearly every dish. The goal of the dinner was to gather a small group of health and foodie thought leaders to celebrate the benefits of wild foods because of their superior taste and health advantages. The dinner was designed to posit the theory that wild foods are actually more accessible than most Americans believe. For example, Wild Blueberries can be found in your grocery store freezer aisle; wild seafood is available in the form of a Maine lobster, and wild greens can be gathered right in your own backyard. Our hope is that these health and foodie influencers will encourage their readers, followers, and fellow chefs to integrate wild into their daily diets and menus.
Below is a collage of images showing raw ingredients and final dishes from our incredible wild dinner. We hope they inspire you to experiment with wild foods right in your own kitchen.
Raw Ingredients: Salanova Salad with Blue Cheese and Wild Blueberry Vinaigrette
Salanova Salad Entrée
Raw Ingredients: Maine Lobster with Black Trumpet Emulsion, Wild Nori and Blueberry Chips
Raw Ingredients: Capocollo with Wild Blueberry Kraut and Hominy
Raw Ingredients: Wild Blueberry Panna Cotta
Wild Blueberry Panna Cotta
Wild Blueberry Semi-Freddo
Click here to read a Q&A with David Levi and to get his recipe for Seaweed & Wild Blueberry Panna Cotta.
Photos by Ted Axelrod