Daylilies stuffed with crab and avocado, bee balm spring rolls, oxeye daisies, and Arctic tuna tartar were just a few of the dishes sampled at the cocktail party introducing Tama Matsuoka’s Foraged Flavor cookbook. Do any of the ingredients stand out to you? It’s because Matsuoka’s flavors were all found in nature. With the help of the head chef de cuisine of Daniel, Eddie Leroux, and world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud, Matsuoka’s finds were used to create unique recipes and entrées.
Advised by a team of botanists, Matsuoka forages for flowers and plants that can be incorporated in the kitchen. She brings her ingredients to Daniel restaurant, where the chefs use their creativity to build dishes around Matsuoka’s discoveries. Chef Boulud added playful comments about Matsuoka’s "garbage bags full of garden weeds" but praised her ideas for being truly unique.
Organized by seasons, the cookbook also offers a guide to decipher foraged ingredients and explains where and when to find them.
When asked what her favorite recipe was Matsuoka said, "The book is truly seasonal; it is very difficult to pick favorites." She also commented on the process of foraging, saying, "The ingredients can be found will a little searching some of them are even available at farmers markets."
The cookbook encourages readers to be involved in their meal from hand-picking their own ingredients all the way to when their dish reaches the table. Foraged Flavor can be found in bookstores nationwide. In the words of Matsuoka — happy foraging!