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Join CulturedandCured on a journey to explore the art and science of cultivating microbes for good health and fabulous flavors. Featuring top professionals in the world of fermentation, brewing, curing and pickling, CulturedandCured goes beyond food trends, illuminating the biological activities that make food naturally delicious and super-nutritious.

Watch our our first full episode!

Chef Ken Fornataro shows Amy how to make a flavor-enhanced meal using koji-coated mushrooms in kasha varnishkas, served with sautéed golden beets and lamb chops spiced with coriander, black pepper, cinnamon and his powerfully pungent powdered mushroom miso. We'll soon release an extended segment that demonstrates the full process of making the koji-coated mushrooms. And more segments in this series with Ken that explain the basics of koji and what to do with it. 

Scroll down for more video and Series 2 - Quarantine Edition

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CulturedandCured aims to be the web’s trusted source

for functional food recipes and information. 

There’s a quiet revolution going on in our country - a food revolution that partners home cooks, farmers, scientists, chefs, brewers and clinicians. These makers and teachers are using fungus, bacteria, yeasts and their enzymes to produce delicious renditions of traditional recipes, as well as discovering unique and exciting applications. New tastes and enhanced nutritional profiles are the result, often from ingredients that might otherwise be discarded or wasted. 


We now know that these living foods are critical for a healthy gut biome. They play a key role in weight management and preventing chronic disease. CulturedandCured documents a reinvigorated body of knowledge about how to safely experiment, select and breed beneficial microbes to create everything from condiments to casseroles and cakes.


Host Amy Kalafa is a long-time advocate for sustainable food.

Her award-winning film, Two Angry Moms created a media sensation and ignited a nationwide movement for better food in schools, resulting in food policy reform locally and nationally. Amy’s book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health (Tarcher-Penguin / Random House) was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award.  She's been a writer, producer and editor for Martha Stewart Living and Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy PBS series and appeared as a guest chef on the PBS series Cultivating Life. Amy has an MBA in Sustainability. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and holds a Lectureship at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry.


Co-Host Alexander Gunuey won a James Beard Award as Broadcast Producer for the PBS series Lidia’s Italy. He won an Emmy Award as Senior Editor for Martha Stewart Living and is acclaimed as the editor of A Tribute to Julia Child. Alex is a chef and a specialist in traditional French food preservation from confit and terrine to cornichon and confiture. At the invitation of the Obama’s chef Sam Katz, Alex visited the White House on behalf of Chefs Move to Schools along with Marcus Samuelson, Bea Smith and 1000 other American chefs.  Alex is a co-founder (with Amy Kalafa) of the east coast’s first Certified Organic poultry and game bird farm, Animal Farm. Their innovations in pasture ranging and herbal diets drove demand from Dean & Delucca, Anthony Bourdain, and numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City.


Series 1

Asian Fermentation


Ken Fornataro has a vast knowledge of the science and techniques that all but disappeared with the industrialization of food. Still in his teens, he was named Executive Chef at the Hermitage restaurant in Boston.

From there he was recruited to prestigious and often private establishments around the world where he practiced his craft. He ran the kitchen and catering services for Troutbeck in upstate New York, using locally grown and sustainably sourced ingredients. At Bloomingdales flagship store in Manhattan, he ran the Fresh Foods department kitchens that included a line of his own prepared, preserved and fermented foods, as well as daily preparations directed by Michel Guérard, Petrossian, Marcella Hazen and other renowned chefs from around the world.


In the late 80s he was recruited to use his skills and training as a scientist to assist in finding treatments to fight pathogenic viruses and microbes, including strains of Aspergillus, Bacillus, Rhizopus and other microbes. He collaborated with researchers, clinicians, government and industry to develop new treatments for viruses such as HPV, HCV, HIV and immune system deficiencies. Ken founded The Access Project with The Kaiser Family Foundation and NASTAD, and then went on to found The Network with the support of federal, state and many corporate partners.

Ken’s knowledge of microbiology and rigorous methodology has helped him greatly in the kitchen where he employs koji and bacteria and enzymes to create tasty and nutritious food and beverages. It’s where he has always wanted his research lab to be anyway.  Follow him on

Asian Fermentation - Season 1 CulturedandCured - with Chef Ken Fornataro

Asian Fermentation - Season 1 CulturedandCured - with Chef Ken Fornataro

Asian Fermentation - Season 1 CulturedandCured - with Chef Ken Fornataro
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Koji Basics Part 1: Koji Fast Pickle

Koji Basics Part 1: Koji Fast Pickle

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Koji Basics Part 2:  Making Koji Rice with Chef Ken Fornataro

Koji Basics Part 2: Making Koji Rice with Chef Ken Fornataro

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Koji Basics Part 3   Amasake and Shio Koji

Koji Basics Part 3 Amasake and Shio Koji

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Excerpt from Chef Ken's tasting event at Fifth Hammer Brewing in NYC



Series 2

In the woods, in the garden and in the kitchen with hosts Alex Gunuey and Amy Kalafa.

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