Mushrooming Interest

Pancetta-wrapped porcinis and more, from an innovative French chef who was practically weaned on mushrooms.

Every October when he was a boy, Jean-Georges Vongerichten hunted for cèpes, chanterelles and trompettes de la mort with his grandparents in Alsace—until they picked a couple of bad ones. "My grandmother never let us go mushroom hunting again," says Vongerichten. He now buys his mushrooms from the professionals and sticks to thinking up new ways to prepare them at Jean Georges in Manhattan and his other 11 restaurants. In a variation on his grandmother's mushrooms sautéed with garlic and parsley, he studs porcini with garlic and wraps them in pancetta before roasting them. Or, in a twist on a Thai recipe, he makes a fragrant scallop-mushroom soup with sliced scallops that are barely cooked by the gingery broth.

--Jane Sigal

PUBLISHED November 2003