Pascal Baudar: Rock Star Forager

Photo by Mia Wasilevich

Los Angeles is home to a new rock star of foraging, Pascal Baudar. Originally from Belgium, I met Pascal through the Master Food Preserver program. Pascal teaches some amazing foraging classes in the Los Angeles area that you can sign up for via his meetup group: Los Angegles Wild Edibles and Self Reliance. He also has a website, Urban Outdoor Skills.

What makes Pascal different from may other foragers is that he has collaborated with his partner Mia Wasilevich, to figure out innovative culinary uses for the “weeds” we find in our local landscape. His Facebook page is full of stunning photographs such as the one above:

Quick wild edibles snack for lunch. Steamed Cattail heads with butter and habanero infused salt (homemade). Sauteed yucca flower buds and lambsquarters with aged balsamic vinegar. California Black walnut hot sauce (very similar to A1 but with a kick and more sweet). Some wild radish and mustard flowers as well as home made infused California bay salt.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of eating a foraged green salad, soup and “deconstructed potato salad” that he and Mia cooked up. It was, no exaggeration here, one of the most amazing meals of my life. That green salad that Mia prepared and Pascal foraged looked like this:

Photo by Mia Wasilevich

It consisted of:

Yucca flowers and bud in a nighshade berries redux sauce, sow thistle, curly dock, amaranth, wild radish sprouts, wild radish pods, cattail, radish flowers, mustard flowers, purslane in a lemon (secret dressing) and on the right, pickled yucca shoot, radish and walnuts with goat cheese.

All of the items in both dishes are easily obtainable here and many other places in North America. Proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat gourmet. 

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7 Comments

  1. I remember that post about black nightshade vs belladonna. We have eastern black nightshade here in the midwest, and according to a kentucy weedologist (cited on wickipedia) the leaves and unripe berries are poisonous. Not gonna test it, but i wonder based on your info if that is correct.

    • The ripe, black berries are fine to eat. We’re sure about that–we’ve eaten plenty and were taught to do so by two master foragers. You shouldn’t eat the green berries–but really, you wouldn’t be tempted to, anyway–they’re hard and just don’t appear edible.

      Interesting fact: the leaves of Solanum nigrum take away the sting of nettles if you rub them on the sting site. I’ve tested it, and it really works.

    • Re: Nightshade and nettle stings: I retract that! (Well, who knows, it might work!) But my senility was kicking in again and I mistook my memory. We were using tree tobacco, which is actually another nightshade, for our stings.

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