The Art of Fermentation, the latest book from fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, has been a huge hit with fermentos and foodies alike. Earlier this summer the book’s popularity landed it a coveted spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. On Wednesday Katz and his art will lead the front page of the New York Times Dining section.
But, you can read the article now online because the Times is hosting a Q&A with Katz, who is fielding all kinds of fermentation queries. Here’s a sample:
“Say this about Sandor Ellix Katz: the man knows how to get you revved up to eat bacteria.
‘Oh, this is nice kimchi,’ he said on a summer afternoon at Momofuku Noodle Bar, using chopsticks to pull crimson-coated knuckles of Napa cabbage from a jar. ‘I like the texture of the sauce. It’s kind of thick.’
Kimchi, like sauerkraut, is one of the world’s great fermented foods, and Mr. Katz, a resident of Tennessee, was curious to see what David Chang’s team of cooks in the East Village would do with it. Lately Mr. Katz has become for fermentation what Timothy Leary was for psychedelic drugs: a charismatic, consciousness-raising thinker and advocate who wants people to see the world in a new way.”
Katz and Times reporter Jeff Gordinier chat about the microbial revolution that has been sweeping the food world — with Katz as key instigator, cheerleader, and teacher. Then they grab lunch at the renowned restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar, and explore Chef David Chang’s own bubbly, funky, ferments.
“Naturally, a seeker like Sandor Katz couldn’t resist an invitation to visit Momofuku’s laboratory of fermentation, so after lunch he took a short stroll to an unmarked sliver of office space in the East Village, where he met Dan Felder, the 28-year-old head of R&D for Mr. Chang’s network of restaurants.
There, in the Momofuku test kitchen, Mr. Felder gave Mr. Katz a glimpse of a brilliantly demented-fermented future: Erlenmeyer flasks full of new iterations of soy sauce, jars of vinegar conjured up from ingredients like strawberries and cherries, little mounds of paste that represented the next wave in miso.”
Read the entire article here, and if you find yourself dying to know more, you’re in luck! You can also check out the online Q&A with Sandor here on the Times’ Dining blog. Got a burning question about your kimchi or sourdough? The master is in, and he’s happy to help!