Feast of the Forage

Minnesota Mycology: Small Plate Soirée

Portrait of Beth Jones

What gave Beth Jones, executive chef at the Campus Club, and alumnae Kathy Yerich, vice president of the Minnesota Mycological Society, the idea to combine their talents and shared interest in Minnesota regional mushrooms?

They met a few years ago at the Women’s Wellness Weekend at the Audubon Center of the Northwoods, where both were teaching courses. “I’d wandered into one of the lodges and smelled something cooking,” Jones recalls, “and there was Kathy, sauteing chanterelles in butter for her own class on foraging.”

Yerich adds, “I was disappointed that I couldn’t take Beth’s cooking class as we were scheduled to teach at the same time. When we connected after, we immediately vowed to do a combined version of our classes, cooking with mushrooms!”

This September, LearningLife students will have the opportunity to greet the autumnal season with an exploration of everything mushroom—from the forest floor and riverbank farm to the Campus Club kitchen and dining room plate. 

Kathy Yerich stretches out under a gigantic model of a mushroom.

Offered in cooperation with the Campus Club, Minnesota Mycology: Small Plate Soirée will be led by Yerich and Jones, and include additional presentations by alumnus Ian Silver-Ramp, founder/co-owner of Mississippi Mushrooms, and Courtney Tchida, student programs coordinator for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and the University’s Cornercopia Student Organic Farm. Yerich will discuss Minnesota mushroom species and detail the characteristics essential to their identification. As she presents, Jones will serve small plates that feature locally sourced wild and cultivated mushrooms.

“Most people only have experience eating common button mushrooms, even canned versions of them, and have the impression that mushrooms are squishy or slimy,” says Yerich. “Many wild foraged mushrooms have much more interesting taste and texture.”

Jones adds, “For those of you who are a bit nervous about a whole event centered on mushrooms, I'd say be adventurous—you'll probably find some really interesting new foods that you'll really like!”

Published on August 12, 2019