Shop With A Chef: David Hawksworth

He wanted his first solo room to have a  global, contemporary energy, so Chef David Hawksworth did a comprehensive tour of restaurants in Europe and the States (Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas) before opening Hawksworth in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in June. His menus rely on best-of-season local ingredients, like earthy pine mushrooms.

How to Buy

If you’re as dedicated and fastidious as Hawksworth, you pick your pine mushrooms yourself. “You want to go quite high in the alpine and look underneath pine trees, where they sort of burst out of the earth. We’ve picked pine mushrooms in Whistler, porcinis on the Coquihalla—we’ve got a little secret spot there where we can get up to 30 pounds at a time.” Foraging, however, is best left to the experts; closer to home, until December, you can find a healthy selection of rare, wild pine mushrooms at neighbourhood farmers’ markets or at South China Seas, which has locations on Commercial Drive and Granville Island. A quality pine mushroom is about 10 centimetres long, with a firm stem and tight cap.

How to Cook

Celebrated for their aromatic, spicy fragrance and taste, pine mushrooms are best, says Hawksworth, “when they’re prepared simply. They’re just such a fragrant mushroom—even raw they’re unbelievable. Shave them really, really thin, then sprinkle with some nice olive oil, a bit of malt vinegar, and sea salt…my mouth is watering!” To really bring out the aroma, try the Japanese method: shave the mushrooms and steep them in dashi or pork broth. Hawksworth ups the ante and serves sauteed pine mushrooms over blood pudding and scallops, a cleverly modern riff on surf ’n’ turf.