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Valeria Margherita Mosca is chef, forager and director of Wood*ing Wild Food Lab, the world’s first food lab for researching and cataloguing the use of wild foodstuff for human consumption. She participates in many national and international conferences on the topic, and is a consultant for several haute cuisine institutions worldwide. She works in close contact with various organisations, both national and international, which are involved in research linked to the environment and to sustainable food, such as Mountain Wilderness, ERSAF, Legambiente and Nordic food lab. She is the writer of ‘Wild Mixology’, published by Mondadori, a book which applies gastronomic techniques to the art of mixology, creating drinks using only wild, native plant foods and innovative techniques for working with and preserving the material. In autumn 2017 she launched the Wood*ing bar in Milan, the first foraging-based bar in the world, where the dishes and cocktails served are based exclusively on wild foods. Her new book comes out in November.
wood*ing – wild food lab is a laboratory for research and experimentation on the use of wild food for human consumption and nutrition. We study, gather, catalogue, analyse and experiment with wild plants, or the parts of them considered edible and suitable for human use: how to use them, how to create products, and how to preserve them. The wild food available in our ecosystems is an important culinary and cultural resource, whose existence has almost zero impact on our planet. This concept is easy to forget, accustomed as we are to procuring what we eat from the shelves of a supermarket or the menu of a restaurant, where availability is instant and involves no apparent efforts to produce. Recognising the possibility of using spontaneously occurring foodstuff drives us to increase knowledge and study of the plant world, the plants available and how to use them, as we approach the realm of ethnobotany and an understanding of the complex way in which food is linked to our existence, the health of the planet Earth and its equilibrium. We carry out our research with enormous care and respect for the ecosystems, in pursuit of VIABLE and GENUINE food sustainability that goes beyond the organic, beyond zero-km, whose makeup combines the cultural identity of places and times past and present, our social history, and the importance of our land’s spontaneous natural biodiversity and the ancient traditions bound to our culture. Gathering spontaneously growing plants, fruits, seeds and roots, research into the artisan culinary techniques of the past, and the biodiversity of our ancient crops generate, following research, an infinite database of indigenous genetic material, organisms, cultural practices and ideas. A database which is, at the same time, capable of preserving our identity in its strongest and most authentic form; and which can, through its richness, open up for us the possibility of high-level culinary experimentation, conveying the clear intention of safeguarding the environment.
Valeria Mosca at Milan Food Week 2018
The other Chefs