The Urban Forager is a cookbook, guide, and irresistible invitation to both the novice and adventurous food lover to explore the rich, diverse culinary cultures of Los Angeles' eastside. Food makers representing the eastside's diverse traditions share beloved recipes, ingredients, innovations, and neighborhood resources. It's a hands-on, stunningly photographed collection of inspiring recipes, profiles, and references for both novice and adventurous home cooks as well as the culinarily curious.
Author Elisa Callow shares her recipes and food discoveries on her blog, The Urban Forager. She is a well-known arts-nonprofit consultant in Los Angeles. (Prospect Park Books)
Joining Elisa this evening will be chefs Minh Phan (porridge + puffs), Mario Rodriguez, Jack Aghoian (formerly of Jacks Kasbah), Rumi Mahmood and Masako Yatabe Thomsen.
Val Zavala, multi- award winning journalist at KCET, will be moderating the evening.
Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author's most recent title from Vroman's. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed. This policy applies to all Vroman's Bookstore events unless otherwise noted. Save your Vroman's receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.
Chef and community activist Minh Phan harnessed her prodigious energy to create the well-loved Field Trip at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and, more recently, porridge + puffs in L.A.’s Historic Filipino Town. Minh’s food builds on her relationships with food purveyors, farmers, and other chefs, with an emphasis on supporting women’s developing role in our food-making communities. Her exquisite porridges serve as a canvas for an ongoing exploration of the seasonal, the rare, the forgotten, and undiscovered.
A lifelong food maker and self-taught “food anthropologist,” Mario credits family members as his first and most influential entry into cooking. A graduate of the Pro Cooking program at the New School of Cooking, he is a fearless home cook, working with equal confidence alongside friend and French trained chef David Feau, his mother, his tias, and his abuelitas. In all cases, we are the lucky ones on the receiving end of his gorgeous food.
Jack entered the restaurant business at the age of 10, assisting his parents, Abraham and Mary, at the family’s Altadena restaurant--renamed Jack’s Kasbah when he took over the business many years later. Jack is a food omnivore, playing with delicious but unexpected pairings that reference the complex background of his Armenian parents, who were raised in Cuba and Syria. In Jack’s extensive repertoire, the lucky diner may find tahini fish tacos alongside Armenian yogurt and barley soup. Since leaving or selling (?) the restaurant, Jack is in the kitchen daily, saying “for me, cooking is like breathing.”
Masako Yatabe Thomsen
Born and raised in Tokyo, Masako completed a graduate degree in architecture before practicing in Tokyo and Los Angeles. During that time, she pursued a lifelong interest in baking by diligently searching out cookbooks at the local library and practicing techniques at home. By the time she approached Sumi Chang of Europane Bakery, she had become a confident baker, proficient in many cuisines and drawing inspiration from her Japanese heritage. The two discovered a common language as bakers, leading to a ten-year creative partnership that continues as co-instructors with their recently established cooking school, “At Our Table.”
Rumi’s Bengali heritage is the true north of his repertoire, with his mother’s refined style of cooking his first influence, followed by Jaques Pepin’s focus on traditional methods, and Rumi’s formative years overseas as the son of a diplomat. As a professional real estate developer, he is particularly adept at breaking down a project into its component parts. In his cooking, as in the building of a home, quality is assured through his attention to technique, ingredients, and presentation.