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Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground
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Hachette Books 2017
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"[Ian Purkayastha] has a true, deep expertise in everything he sells—caviar, truffles, fish. He knows the stories that we need to sell the stuff tableside . . . he can disrupt the entire luxury foods market."
—-From the Foreword by David Chang

Ian Purkayastha is New York City's leading truffle importer and boasts a devoted clientele of top chefs nationwide, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Chang, Sean Brock, and David Bouley. But before he was purveying the world's most expensive fungus to the country's most esteemed chefs, Ian was just a food-obsessed teenager in rural Arkansas — a misfit with a peculiar fascination for rare and exotic ingredients.
The son of an Indian immigrant father and a Texan mother, Ian learned to forage for wild mushrooms from an uncle in the Ozark hills. Thus began a single-track fixation that led him to learn about the prized but elusive truffle, the king of all fungi. His first taste of truffle at age 15 sparked his improbable yet remarkable adventure through the strange — and often corrupt — business of the exotic food trade.
Rife with tales from the hidden underbelly of the elite restaurant scene, Truffle Boy chronicles Ian's high stakes dealings with a truffle kingpin in Serbia, meth-head foragers in Oregon, crooked businessmen and maniacal chefs in Manhattan, gypsy truffle hunters in the forests of Hungary, and a supreme adventure to find "Gucci mushrooms" in the Himalayan foothills — the land of the gods.
He endures harsh failures along the way but rebuilds with tremendous success by selling not just truffles but also caviar, wild mushrooms, rare foraged edibles, Wagyu beef, and other nearly unobtainable ingredients demanded by his Michelin-starred clients.
Truffle Boy is a thrilling coming-of-age story and the incredible but true tale of a country kid who grows up to become a force in the world of fine dining.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/07/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316383974, 9780316383943
ASIN:
B01922I13O

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Ian Purkayastha. (2017). Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground. Hachette Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Ian Purkayastha. 2017. Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground. Hachette Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Ian Purkayastha, Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground. Hachette Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Ian Purkayastha. Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground. Hachette Books, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • bioText: Ian Purkayastha is the creator and owner of Regalis Foods and works with more than 300 of North America's finest chefs. He lives in New York City.
        Kevin West is the author of Saving the Season and has written about food and travel for Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Martha Stewart Living, and W. He splits his time between the Berkshires and Los Angeles.
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Truffle Boy
fullDescription
"[Ian Purkayastha] has a true, deep expertise in everything he sells—caviar, truffles, fish. He knows the stories that we need to sell the stuff tableside . . . he can disrupt the entire luxury foods market."
—-From the Foreword by David Chang

Ian Purkayastha is New York City's leading truffle importer and boasts a devoted clientele of top chefs nationwide, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Chang, Sean Brock, and David Bouley. But before he was purveying the world's most expensive fungus to the country's most esteemed chefs, Ian was just a food-obsessed teenager in rural Arkansas — a misfit with a peculiar fascination for rare and exotic ingredients.
The son of an Indian immigrant father and a Texan mother, Ian learned to forage for wild mushrooms from an uncle in the Ozark hills. Thus began a single-track fixation that led him to learn about the prized but elusive truffle, the king of all fungi. His first taste of truffle at age 15 sparked his improbable yet remarkable adventure through the strange — and often corrupt — business of the exotic food trade.
Rife with tales from the hidden underbelly of the elite restaurant scene, Truffle Boy chronicles Ian's high stakes dealings with a truffle kingpin in Serbia, meth-head foragers in Oregon, crooked businessmen and maniacal chefs in Manhattan, gypsy truffle hunters in the forests of Hungary, and a supreme adventure to find "Gucci mushrooms" in the Himalayan foothills — the land of the gods.
He endures harsh failures along the way but rebuilds with tremendous success by selling not just truffles but also caviar, wild mushrooms, rare foraged edibles, Wagyu beef, and other nearly unobtainable ingredients demanded by his Michelin-starred clients.
Truffle Boy is a thrilling coming-of-age story and the incredible but true tale of a country kid who grows up to become a force in the world of fine dining.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: [An] earnest insider perspective on the luxury-food industry [and] Bourdain-esque travelogue that chronicles parties at an Italian villa, a truffle harvest in the Spanish province of Aragon, and mushroom-gathering in rural Oregon.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: [Truffle Boy] is a unique blend of bildungsroman and foodie/truffle primer sure to appeal to a wide audience. . . . An informative and charming food and travel memoir.
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: In this delightful chronicle, Purkayastha charmingly recounts his own rags-to-riches tale . . . his passion for truffles animates his story.
      • premium: False
      • source: Food & Wine
      • content: Ian tells his story in funny, thoughtful, and occasionally downright incredible anecdotes.
      • premium: False
      • source: Sean Brock, James Beard Award-winning chef and New York Times bestselling author of Heritage
      • content: Ian's story is an entertaining reminder that age is just a number and passion is everything. An inspiring read that is sure to make you want to get off your ass and chase your dreams.
      • premium: False
      • source: Luke Barr, author of Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
      • content: The life of a truffle salesman in New York City as described by the sometimes bumbling, seemingly guileless, and always charming Ian Purkayastha, whose adventures in the cutthroat underworld of rare food purveyors take him from glamorous restaurant kitchens to treacherous dealings all across Europe and back again. Hugely entertaining!
      • premium: False
      • source: Alex Stupak, chef and owner of Empellón
      • content: When Ian enters my kitchen I am filled with the same giddy emotions you might have gotten when you heard the chimes of the ice cream truck rolling through your neighborhood as a child. Curating the rarest and most special of ingredients goes beyond career; it's an entire way of life. Give this book a good read so you can begin to understand what passion really is.
      • premium: False
      • source: David Bouley, chef and restaurateur
      • content: There's no substitute for the relationship that I have as a chef with Ian's energy and support to invigorate our menus. It took only one visit to my kitchen to appreciate his success. His commitment to acquiring the highest level of artisanal ingredients and powerful foraged treasures is unmatched. I can always rely on his consistency and research in his work as a partner to the energy in our kitchen. We need more people like Ian to raise the bar of our sources and our relationship with Mother Nature.
      • premium: False
      • source: Daniel Boulud, chef and owner of The Dinex Group
      • content: Ian's enthusiasm for wild and exotic foods is unparalleled. His chronicle of personal and professional adventures in search of the best products on earth makes him a true wanderer of nature.
      • premium: False
      • source: Garden & Gun
      • content: Truffle Boy demystifies...the world of luxury food, [but] Purkayastha's enthusiasm rings most clearly when he's writing about his time out in the field gathering wild plants and rarities, from the hills around his family's home in Huntsville, Arkansas, to the forests of India.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 9, 2016
        In this delightful chronicle, Purkayastha charmingly recounts his own rags-to-riches tale. With few friends and little interest in school in Arkansas, Purkayastha hung out with his family in their cabin in the woods; one day his brother, Jared, introduced him to the amazing taste and texture of wild morels, and Purkayastha was hooked on mushrooms and foraging. After a meal of truffle-stuffed ravioli in New York City, Purkayastha’s destiny is set, and he spends the last two years of high school setting up a modest trade in truffles out of his home. Rather than entering college, he heads off to New York in 2010 , planning to make his fortune in truffles. Along the way, he partners with unscrupulous businessmen and almost loses all of his money, but eventually he buys back shares in his company. Now 22, Purkayastha, writing with West (Saving the Season), successfully supplies truffles and other wild-foraged foods to Michelin-starred New York restaurants such as Per Se and Momofuku Ko. Purkayastha’s memoir grows monotonous and repetitive, but his passion for truffles animates his story. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2016
        A 20-something's account of how he became a leading importer of truffles and other exotic specialty foods for some of America's most elite restaurants. The son of an American mother and Indian father, Purkayastha grew up in Houston and Fayetteville, Arkansas. Dyslexia and neural processing delay issues made schoolwork a struggle, but when his grandfather introduced him to cooking and rock collecting, his life changed. As he cultivated his love of food, school took a back seat to his new interest in gemology and to the small business he created selling stones to his classmates. The author became "hooked on mushrooms" after his parents moved to Arkansas and his uncle taught him the basics of foraging. After tasting his first truffle-infused meal, Purkayastha enthusiastically began researching truffles. He then bought his first truffles from Italy and sold them to restaurants around Fayetteville. Business boomed, and he began attending truffle festivals and high-end food shows around the country. At 16, the author met his first business partner, a wholesaler from Italy named Ubaldo. Two years later, after a decision to delay--and then forgo--college, Purkayastha was selling Ubaldo's truffles to celebrated restaurants all over New York City. The partnership ended, however, once he realized that his Italian partner was taking advantage of him because he was young. The author then formed a lucrative business with other partners (whom he eventually bought out) while expanding his company's line to include foraged edibles. His work took him all over Europe, where he learned some of the "dark, shadowy, shady" truths about the food business. Gun-toting hunters and wholesalers protected truffle patches as though they were drug stashes, and buyers, including Ubaldo, routinely bought truffles from Eastern Europe and sold them as the more coveted Italian or French varieties. Complemented by recipes and a glossary of exotic food terms, the book is a unique blend of bildungsroman and foodie/truffle primer sure to appeal to a wide audience. An informative and charming food and travel memoir.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2016

        Foodies and chefs everywhere swoon at the mere mention of truffles. This memoir by Purkayastha, creator and owner of Regalis Foods, relates how and where these culinary delicacies grow, along with how they are distributed around the world, eventually winding up on restaurant menus in New York and Fayetteville, AR. A natural entrepreneur, Purkayastha, channeled his love for food and cooking into a global luxury food sourcing business at age 22. Readers follow him through his teenage years as he explores the ups and downs of making it in a business made up of both profit and fraud. Coauthored with West (Saving the Season), the book includes a glossary to help keep track of truffle varietals and food terms, plus recipes associated with pivotal moments in the narrative including squirrel and dumplings or black truffle ravioli with foie gras sauce. VERDICT This quirky coming-of-age narrative set in the world of high-end food purveyors will teach readers a thing or two about truffles and how the rarest ingredients arrive on the plates of the world's fanciest restaurants.--Courtney McDonald, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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"[Ian Purkayastha] has a true, deep expertise in everything he sells—caviar, truffles, fish. He knows the stories that we need to sell the stuff tableside . . . he can disrupt the entire luxury foods market."
—-From the Foreword by David Chang

Ian Purkayastha is New York City's leading truffle importer and boasts a devoted clientele of top chefs nationwide, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Chang, Sean Brock, and David Bouley. But before he was purveying the world's most expensive fungus to the country's most esteemed chefs, Ian was just a food-obsessed teenager in rural Arkansas — a misfit with a peculiar fascination for rare and exotic ingredients.
The son of an Indian immigrant father and a Texan mother, Ian learned to forage for wild mushrooms from an uncle in the Ozark hills. Thus began a single-track fixation that led him to learn about the prized but elusive truffle, the king of all fungi. His first taste of truffle at age 15 sparked his...
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