Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through The Exotic Food Underground

Hardcover | February 7, 2017

byIan PurkayasthaAs told byKevin West

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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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From the Publisher

"[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...

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 B...

other books by Ian Purkayastha

Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 0.88 inPublished:February 7, 2017Publisher:Hachette BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316383953

ISBN - 13:9780316383950

Customer Reviews of Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through The Exotic Food Underground

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Truffle Boy by Ian Purkayastha I just finished reading Truffle Boy by Ian Purkayastha and although there were times when I wasn’t sure if I was reading about his incredible life or a biology study of mushrooms, I found the book fascinating. There were times when I kept having to ask myself, how old is he again? I was so impressed with the determination and focus of Purkayastha that I checked him out on the Internet. His story is phenomenal and true. Truffle Boy is really about the power of positive thinking, having a wonderful support system from forward thinking parents and extended family and a lot of faith that much can be accomplished if you set your mind accordingly. I liked the fact that he was a misfit in school and had these strange culinary ideas and with the support of his family launched a successful business while still in high school. I liked the fact that his parents fully supported him and seemed to be part of the adventure, even when he was living in New York City and they were still in the mid-west. I liked the ingenuity of how a seventeen year-old could approach famous chefs and entice them to buy mushrooms from him. I felt his loneliness in New York, I think partly because the family he was so close to was still in the mid-west. But, most importantly, I liked and admired his sheer incredibly focused determination. I felt I was just getting to know Purkayastha when the book ended. His story doesn’t end because at the ending of the book he is only about twenty-two. As amazing as Purkayastha’s story is, I was shattered by the corruption in the high-end specialty food market. I think it took a lot of courage to tell this side of the business. And, it made we wonder, do we really know where the food we eat originates? Purkayastha taught me to not only look at the front of food labels but also at the ingredient list as often the true contents are stated with their Latin names, and this can lead to knowledge of the real country of origin. I am not sure that I will ever be following Purkayastha’s footsteps of foraging for wild edible plants; but, his story has left me with the feeling that I too can accomplish something spectacular. And, I think inspiration is the true point of his book. I think Truffle Boy should be part of high school curriculums.
Date published: 2016-07-24

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Editorial Reviews

"Ian's enthusiasmfor wild and exotic foods is unparalleled. His chronicle of personal andprofessional adventures in search of the best products on earth makeshim a true wanderer of nature."-Daniel Boulud, chef and owner of The Dinex Group