The other day I received a call from a friend of mine who is an avid food enthusiast, with his own web cooking show, which unfortunately I do not know the name of as of yet. He asked me if I was interested in participating in the filming of a cable food segment. Apparently the Los Angeles based producers were interested in tagging onto this Whole Green Thing, as they put it. They thought it would be cool to do their part for the globe. Since I happen to be a seasoned mushroom hunter, the thought was that I would take the crew out mushroom hunting and give them the whole schpeel on wild edibles, foraging in general and the proper sustainable practices involved in walking in the wilderness with a soft foot print.
At first I was thrilled (having grown up in Hollywood I should have known better). I am very passionate about foraging in the wilderness and of course this whole green thing, is a very heartfelt part of my daily life. My only constraints revolved around the issue that the second week in April is probably one of the worst times to forage on the coastal portion of Sonoma County. Primarily because we are smack dab in the middle of seasons at the moment, the fungus from winter is drying up and the mushrooms such as morels that can be prevalent in the spring have not quite arrived, except for the few that are popping up in the backyards of newly mulched gardens around the county. Because of this I knew that there would have to be some careful scouting involved in order to assure that the film crew wouldn’t get skunked during their proposed afternoon window of time to film. All of this aside, I figured we could work it out if the Gods of fungi saw fit.
Then the phone call from the producer in Los Angeles came. She wanted to meet me over the phone and go over the plans with me for the shoot. At first all seemed well, she seemed excited about the idea of shooting in Nor Cal and thought the mushroom angle to be a good one, but before long the conversation turned south. First off, she was not pleased with the possibility that mushrooms might be scarce on Sunday April 6th, because this did not jive with the production schedule, but I assured her I would do my best to have nature cooperate for Hollywood.
“We will need you do take care of a few thing for us, before we come up”.
“Sure, what can I do?” I replied.
“I need you to find a judge”.
“You mean a legal judge?”
“No. We need a judge for the competition”. She replied.
“The competition between you and your friend the host, we thought it would add a nice twist to have the two of you compete with a few dishes using the mushrooms we foraged”.