Updated: Jul 19
Those of you who know me as the filmmaker behind Two Angry Moms and the author of Lunch Wars may wonder why you haven't heard from me in a while. Well, my kids grew up and my husband and I worked hard to put them through college. As a couple of documentary filmmakers, this was no mean feat. And then I decided I had to go back to school to get an MBA in Sustainability. I love learning.
We never stopped cooking for our family and friends though, and our passion for documenting and sharing what lies at the intersection of the culinary arts, food science and social justice has never abated. So a decade later, we are unveiling a new production: Cultured&Cured. It's a Youtube Channel (for now) with a growing list of video programs in two playlists: Asian Fermentation and The Quarantine Edition. Our goal is to be an accessible, trusted source for high-quality "living" food entertainment, instruction and recipes.
When I envisioned making the Cultured&Cured series, I was eager to learn from the experts about the science and art of making some well-known functional foods like lacto-fermented pickles, kimchi, beer, yogurt, kefir, kvass and sourdough bread. Even more fascinating though, are the unique flavor profiles and enhanced nutrition that chefs, researchers, cooks and scientists are developing using modern twists on traditional food alchemy techniques.
Watch the premiere of Koji Basics Part 1: That's a Fast Pickle
As a first subject, we asked our friend Chef Ken Fornataro to do a video on his work with Asian-style fermentation. He's been producing his own youtube videos for quite a while, and we wanted to distill his encyclopedic knowledge into broadcast-quality content with a narrative for newcomers as well as acolytes. I hosted, Alex filmed, and we had a blast learning about koji, natto, amasake, shio-koji, miso, and the incredibly delicious recipes he makes with these enzyme-activating living ingredients.
Watch the premiere of Koji Basics Part 2: Making Koji Rice with Chef Ken Fornataro
Instead of one video, we filmed an entire series (or Channel, or Playlist or whatever you want to call it) with Chef Ken. As both a Chef and a microbiologist, Ken explains how these Asian ferments interact with your microbiome to stimulate your senses, satisfy your appetite and restore good gut health. You can see what we've posted so far on the Cultured&Cured webpage, and more on our Youtube Channel, Cultured&Cured.
Watch the premiere of Foolproof Tomato Transplanting Secret with Host Amy Kalafa
Like most of the world this year, we are not traveling due to the pandemic. Instead, we're adding new videos weekly in our second series: Cultured&Cured - The Quarantine Edition. You can see how to harvest wild leeks and how to use them fresh in a tangy pasta recipe, or turn them into pesto and pickles. We're growing pears in bottles to make pear liquor in the fall. My husband Alex is making duck and pork prosciutto, and we've followed our friends Kate and David making amaro di nocino (green walnut bitters).
Watch the premiere of Curing and Caring for Cast Iron Pans with Chef Alex Gunuey
Once we can travel and film again on location, we'll feature more chefs, researchers, restaurateurs and local, small-batch producers in future episodes and series of Cultured&Cured.
Learn more about Cultured&Cured on our work-in-progress webpage.
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We'd like to hear from you. What topics do you want to learn more about? Brewing? Baking?
Confit? Canning? Nixtamalization? Natto? Let us know!
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