Chef Lindsay Kucera will set the menu for the Saturday, Aug. 31 Wild Harvest Feast. However, she also hopes to learn a thing or two while at Fungus Festival.
“I’m very fascinated by mushroom hunting,” Kucera said. “I go out mushroom hunting, but, nine times out of 10, I’m just not certain enough. I want to learn how to identify with confidence.”
A self-taught cuisinier, Kucera spent two years as a sous-chef at Anchorage’s Rustic Goat restaurant before becoming chef de cuisine for Kaladi Brothers Coffee. Now, she’s in charge of coordinating Fungus Festival’s three-course, 140-person climactic banquet, which will combine elements of local and world cooking. The meal will serve as a fundraiser for the Copper River Watershed Project.
Inspired by Thai cuisine, the Harvest Feast menu will include traditional Thai ingredients like lemongrass and ginger, as well as Alaska staples like nasturtium, chickweed and, of course, wild mushrooms. Although Kucera remains tight-lipped about the items on the Wild Harvest Feast menu, she has said that the main course will include green curry.
“I believe that the seasons and the landscape that you’re in should dictate what you focus on,” Kucera said. “I love using Alaskan produce and Alaskan proteins to showcase how well Alaskan food compares to world cuisine.”
Although Kucera has participated in Girdwood Fungus Festival, this will be her first journey to Cordova. Kucera looks forward to getting away from Anchorage and spending a few days in a more intimately connected community, she said.
“For me, more than what’s on the table, it matters to me who’s in the chairs,” Kucera said. “Food and cooking are an act of community, and that’s the most important thing to me. Even if I’m making macaroni and cheese, if I’m doing it with someone interesting and vital, that’s the best experience I could have.”