Chef Blog: The Magic of Mushrooms

Jordi Gállego Paz, Senior Development Chef of South Europe, was born in Northwest Spain and moved to Tarragona on the Mediterranean coast at a young age where he still resides today.

Afternoons spent in the kitchen with his mother flourished into his love for food, but it’s his dedication and passion to care for others that inspired his vocation as a culinarian. 

Jordi began his career by working his way up through restaurants during summers and on vacations while completing his high school studies. With almost 40 years of experience, his career includes time in independent restaurants, hotels, catering and managing his own business. 

Growing up in the Mediterranean region of Spain, mushrooms and fungi are a part of their history. Mushrooms are found in many traditional recipes with meat and vegetables, drawing inspiration from hunter and gatherer roots. 

Globally, consumption is spreading and popularizing, largely due to chefs who have incorporated the unique tastes and experiences mushrooms offer into their recipes. This is especially true in areas with a heritage of growing and harvesting mushrooms. 

As consumers seek out authenticity and new culinary experiences, integrating mushrooms creates exciting combinations through flavor and texture. With such a range to choose from, you can find a mushroom that fits your recipe and pairs with ingredients to truly create something one-of-a-kind. 

From snacks to the center of the plate, mushrooms are prevalent in many market segments. They can be an umami booster, enhance vegetarian dishes or serve as a meat replacement for alternative protein products, taking recipes to the next level. 

When fresh mushrooms are seasonably available, Jordi gathers and dehydrates them to create mushroom powder. A little sprinkle of this in your favorite sauce or stew opens the door to new depths of flavor. The deep aroma of mushrooms and their ability to enhance and enrich all flavors within a recipe makes this a go-to item in his kitchen.  

Restaurants and chefs are actively promoting this trend by elevating mushrooms through thematic menus, gastronomic events and dégustation sessions – showing appreciation for the art of the mushrooms and bringing people together. 

With the wide array of mushrooms available through specialized suppliers and in stores, you can continuously find a different mushroom to experiment with and create an entirely new dish. 

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