Georgia Pellegrini is known internationally for her fearless approach to sourcing her ingredients, from the backyard to the wild. She has a passion for good, simple food that began at an early age--on a boulder by the side of a creek as she caught trout for breakfast. She grew up on the same land that her great-grandfather owned and worked: a farm called Tulipwood in New York's Hudson Valley. Her connection to nature and the deep satisfaction she got from manual labor stayed with her through college. Even during the years that she ventured into the corporate world of finance, she felt something tugging at her to return back to the land.
After a bit of soul searching, Pellegrini decided to leave the cubicle behind and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Soon after, she began working at farm-to-table restaurants, first at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and then at Gramercy Tavern in New York. At the former, when asked to slaughter and butcher a few turkeys for the restaurant, she felt the most visceral sense of connection to the food. "The experience was invigorating and awakened the primal part in me," she recalls. "All of a sudden, I had this purpose to pay the full price of the meal, to become a responsible omnivore and understand the process from farm to plate."
She went on to work at La Chassagnette, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the south of France, spending her days driving heavy farm equipment, befriending the gardener and his three- legged cat, and harvesting ingredients for dinner. She found that she was most interested in the foragers and fig collectors and salami makers who arrived to the restaurants with their goods, and she soon went on journeys with them--through the woods, into curing rooms, and over the rolling hills of olive oil vineyards. Her first book, Food Heroes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010) tells the story of 16 culinary artisans across the world who are fighting to preserve their food traditions. The book was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for an International Association of Culinary Professionals award. "While I was writing Food Heroes, I realized each person I spoke to shared a common bond: a connection to the land," she says. "I knew my next task had to be refocusing on getting to the heart of where our food comes from by heading to the source, Mother Nature."
She bought a shotgun and set her sights on the cutting-edge of culinary creativity intent on pushing the boundaries of American gastronomy. She traveled over field and stream in search of the main course and met a host of colorful characters along the way. The result of these adventures is the critically acclaimed book Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2012), named one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2012 by Booklist and a best book of the month by Amazon.com.
In her latest book, Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life (Clarkson Potter, 2014), she teaches 'manual literacy' and modern day pioneer skills that are accessible no matter what kind of space you live in--from fire escape gardening, to up-cycling, to preserving, to learning how to change a tire.
Pellegrini also chronicles her adventures in meeting food artisans and gathering her ingredients on her popular website, www.georgiapellegrini.com, which garners more than 2 million hits per month. For immersion into her adventurous yet stylish lifestyle, she hosts Adventure Getaways across the country. These two- to three-day trips include a combination of outdoor activities; horseback riding and scenic ATV rides; clay shooting; fly fishing; hunting for birds, wild hogs, and deer; cleaning and butchering; chef-prepared meals and cooking classes, and more. For more information, visit www.georgiapellegrini.com/adventuregetaways.
She has been on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Iron Chef America," NBC's "Today Show" HBO's "Real Sports," Fox, NPR, Martha Stewart radio, in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Food & Wine, ESPN, Town & Country, More, The New York Post, and many more. When Pellegrini isn't delving into local foodways at home in Austin, TX, she's roaming the world hunting and gathering, tasting good food, and meeting the good people who make it.