What is Root?

Root was born from a deep love for community and a belief in the power of food to tell stories, connect us to place and to each other, and build a bridge to the past. That love has driven all of my work across many fields: as a chef, writer, professor, museum curator, and as an artist. 

I have worked with food in a variety of capacities, but it was my love of history and food stories that ultimately gave me the keys to building something special. My intertwining loves of food and history have woven through each of life’s twists and turns, popping up in unexpected places, and sending me on journeys of expansion, discovery, and connection.

My ongoing connection to food, and eagerness to learn the stories of what we eat, where it comes from, and the people behind it, has fostered connections with other people and with the earth around us. Many people I’ve spoken to crave an understanding of what they eat: They are eager to look beyond recipes to find stories, and to find connections to the past and to each other in the process.

When I realized how many other people wanted to experience food in the ways I do, I founded Root to help share what I learn and offer new ways to think about what and how we eat.  

I began Root with event and research consulting, classes, and a monthly membership. Root has since grown to include robust and innovative online courses, private fermentation coaching, spectacular events, creative work with filmmakers and other creatives, and more.

The goal in all of this work is to unlock the magic of the dishes we and our ancestors know and love. I talk a lot about the magic of the everyday, and of thinking of our food and ourselves in context. Whether it’s the transformation of sauerkraut by the microbes our bodies evolved alongside, or cooking the 1600s predecessor to modern apple pie, the world of food is full of wonder and beautiful stories just waiting to be discovered.

However, no food story exists in a vacuum, just as each food item is inherently connected to its story and the world around it. Food is inherently communal, and eating is inherently a community act, whether we’re relying on the farmers who grow our food, the drivers who transport it, or friends and family who cook and eat with us.

These food stories of the past have an impact on what we eat today, but we are also continuing to tell those stories, writing and reshaping the narratives. By knowing where our stories started, perhaps we can more intentionally consider where they’re going.

Each of us has our own food stories and our own valuable perspectives to share, which is why Root isn’t just a one way street, preaching the magic of fermentation and food history. Root is an inherently collaborative endeavor, as each class and each project we undertake is an opportunity for everyone to learn from each other.

This means we’re expanding the history of food history to include everyone we can, and that includes you.

I’m always cooking up new experiments, trying to push the envelope of what culinary writing, education, and collaboration look like to facilitate conversation, connection, and curiosity.

These include:

A weekend food waste and fermentation workshop with some of the best fermentation teachers in the country, plus a virtual version held on Instagram Live to help people stretch their food stores during early COVID shortages.

A class in using wild fermented foods to capture time and place, and using this to heal from grief as an individual and a community.

Responsive dinners: Creating menus that speak to time and place through ferments, forage, and more.

It’s an exciting journey, and I’m glad you’re along for the ride.

If you’d like to work with me, please get in touch here!