Q: What’s something that makes both gourmets’ and backpackers’ mouths water?
A: Wild food foraging--and we’ve found an expert to teach us all about it.
Meet Pascal Baudar, whose Wild Food Lab leads educational foraging tours into the Angeles National Forest, where you can learn to pick everything from wild spinach to mugwort (an aromatic herb). Baudar and his business/life partner, chef Mia Wasilevich, are the insiders that chichi chefs like Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec) and Chris Jacobson (Girasol) turn to for greens that are more flavor-packed than anything at Whole Foods. Think of these foragers as profs in Weed Wizardry 101.
Groups start the hour-and-a-half hikes in the parking lot of a Pasadena or Sylmar park and then head up into the hills. Baudar knows dozens of plants and might point out lamb’s-quarters (fantastic in a sweet pudding) or cactus pads (great in a granita). Then, at the end of the hike, you learn exactly what to do with your foraged booty.
Wild Food Lab also holds gourmet dinners, like the one on June 7 at the Zane Grey Estate in Altadena. “Young goat braised in forest floor”--now that’s a meal to remember.