Evolution of Modern Fermenting
“Anything we can eat and be nourished by can be fermented.” – Sandor Katz
When adding new cooking techniques or ideas to your every day life, many times it is not enough to read books or look online. Luckily for us in Hong Kong, all modern home fermenters and those interested in fermenting have the chance to learn from the master – Sandor Ellix Katz , author and fermenting revivalist of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. Katz’s objective in reaching out to the public in debut Hong Kong appearance at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, on fermentation runs deep. He says of his goals, “I hope people leave with an itch to get home and experiment. I want them to feel empowered by seeing how easy fermenting is. You don’t need fancy supplies, just a kilo of vegetables and some salt.”
Katz is the most well known modern fermenter of the 21st century. Up until the advent of refrigeration, every home hosted at least one expert fermenter with experience in canning and preserving cheeses, vegetables, meats and legumes. It was the way food was saved for long winters or times of scarcity and provided a steady supply of critical nourishment.
From Underground Movement to Modern HK Home
Until recently, few realised this age-old tradition was also a vital source of health and healing. Despite the proliferation of store-bought probiotic choices, manufactured options are not the same as cultured foods made at home. Store bought cultured foods are generally sterilized first and then later have probiotics added back into the food or contain preservatives that kill the living bacteria. With live-cultured foods made in your kitchen, the depth and variety of micro-organisms introduced to the body is more varied and bioavailable with added enzymes and gut healing properties.
Katz says, “It’s understandable that new fermenters are nervous. Many are terrified of cultivating bacteria in our microbe-phobic society. Most of my job during workshops is demystifying the process of fermentation and helping individuals realise how easy, safe and nourishing fermented foods are to have at home. I’m constantly encouraged, as well, because people are so curious and fascinated to learn. There is a hunger for this information.” For those very concerned, they can take comfort that stories of exploding bottles can happen only in cases where sugary, carbonated drinks are being made. “The baseline of fermenting is really vegetables, which are very safe.” With Katz’s mission to empower and reinvigorate every home with easy recipes, resources and knowledge to go home and take action, individuals in Hong Kong will leave the workshop ready to revive this ancient tradition once again.
Culture Club: Learn the Art of Fermentation with Sandor Katz
Katz’s journey to Hong Kong started back in 2015 via an e-mail exchange with Laura Paul, founder of Healthy Living Asia and Hong Kong’s largest natural health and wellness forum, Healthy Living in HK, to see if he was interested in coming to Asia. Luckily, the response was positive and set in motion 18 months of planning and a gracious invitation from the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong through local fermenting expert Jacqueline Renee Cohen of LantauMama. The progressive hotel already has a number of fermented items weaved into its menus. With Katz’s visit, chefs at the hotel will have exclusive access to decades of knowledge on fermenting every type of food. Throughout the visit culinary students in the city will also have the chance to learn from Katz himself through an educational workshop held at the hotel.
For the rest of us, those fortunate enough to attend the one-off public event with Katz will be mezmorised by the transformation of food throughout the fermentation journey. Experience this process first hand with a live demonstration and tastings. Each attendee will leave the workshop equipped with Katz’s updated flat-signed book, Wild Fermentation, to take home.
Date: Friday, 13 Jan 2017, 2:30 – 5:30 pm
Location: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Price: 2,000 HKD + 10%
- Lecture by Sandor Katz
- Fermentation demonstration by Sandor Katz
- Fermented treats prepared by the chefs at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
- Fermented drinks prepared by LantauMama
- Signed copy of Sandor Katz’s new 2016 Wild Fermentation book
- Q&A session with Sandor Katz
To learn more about Sandor Katz, visit his website at WildFermentation.com