Koji is the mold Aspergillus Oryzae and is responsible for soy sauce, rice wine, miso and so many historically important pantry staples from all over Asia.
It was popularized in the west as part of the modern fermentation renaissance of the past few decades and especially with the release of books like the Noma Guide to Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. There are many facets of the koji world to explore in this class and beyond.
We’ll talk about the vast history of this and other molds beginning in ancient China and all of the techniques and products created as they moved across Asia. There's also the modern western koji movement which sees chefs like Renee Redzeppi of Noma applying these time-tested, tradition-drenched techniques to their own local foods and to entirely new applications. And then there's the sustainability perspective which demonstrates this wonderful mold's ability to make good use of what might otherwise be considered waste.
Discover the art and science with Nicholas through starting your own koji fermentation that you’ll take home to your own kitchen. You’ll also be tasting a variety of products made from koji so you can be inspired to continue with this fermentation process.
I’m Nicholas Ronyai, a chef and fermentation enthusiast! I’ve been cooking my entire life but started making a career out of it after leaving university to travel with work. I’ve cooked in restaurants around the country from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Orcas Island and now I find myself at the company which caters to the offices of Facebook around Seattle.
A few years into my career I began experimenting with the newest big thing in the culinary world, fermentation. It’s funny to refer to this as a modern trend because these techniques have their roots as integral food preservation methods for every culture throughout history. It’s really only since the dawn of industry and refrigeration that we’ve lost these roots. I’ve fermented just about everything I can think of, spent a lot of time trying to understand and practice different techniques from many different cultures, building on what I learn and sharing it with other enthusiasts from all over the world.
Since attending the MAD Academy programs on environment and sustainability in the hospitality industry in Copenhagen, my focus has shifted to applying these techniques to food waste and to educate people on how they can make delicious food out of things they might normally throw away.