Ferment by Holly Davis

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We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.
- Harrison Ford -


My first foray into the food and cooking world, was learning and working in commercial kitchens, initially as an apprentice and then as a chef, in fine-dining restaurants. Many years later, a second chance arose for me in a different food and cooking arena. The focus was more about whole food, local food, seasonal eating, supporting farmers, growers, artisans, shopping at farmers markets, teaching in cooking schools and writing cookbooks. It was an opportunity I never expected, and one of the greater joys of this "second wind", has been the privilege of getting to know, some incredibly talented people. Pioneering folks, (new maybe to me, but well-known by many others), women who've devoted most of their lives to inspiring, teaching and feeding others, simple, nourishing whole food.

One such lady, although I'd probably describe her more as a good woman and one of the matriarchs of whole food, is Holly Davis. I first came across Holly seven years ago, when I attended a class she did on whole foods, at a local cooking school. Holly was different to the "celebrity chefs" regularly served up to us, on the glut of television cooking shows pervading our homes. Holly wasn't about Holly being famous, she was about profiling whole food, she wasn't about food fads, she was about investing in the future of wholesome eating, she wasn't about creating new techniques, she was about taking us back to the traditions of our grandmothers. Quietly debunking myths and bringing nourishing truth, she was, I now know, way ahead of her time!

This week Holly releases her second book Ferment (Murdoch 2017). It is a timely culmination of her life's work with fermentation, a guide to the ancient art of culturing foods, some are calling it the 'bible of fermentation'. Just as remarkable, it has been over fifteen years since her first book Nourish (Simon & Schuster 1999) was published, serving as a reminder to us all, that second chances do unfold, and if we are courageous enough to grab those opportunities, further dreams are realised. I know how hard Holly has worked, to see this beautiful book now arrive in print. It's been a stretching and exhausting process for her to birth another book, and I'm more than proud to cheer her on as a friend. 

About Holly
A wholefood chef, teacher and one of the co-founders of Sydney’s Iku Wholefoods. She began her fermentation journey as a teenager, using her mum’s linen cupboard and any spare bench she could, to house delicious fermenting pickles, cheeses and drinks. She has been making these foods and teaching others how to for over 40 years. "I am never happier than when I am sharing my knowledge, SCOBYs and starters with the curious, and love that the saying ‘you never learn less’ is indeed true." says Holly. "Ferment- A guide to the ancient art of culturing foods now sits beside my first book Nourish."

FERMENT is bursting with practical guidance and recipes for delicious live probiotic dishes and ideas for their use. Containing seven chapters, each providing details and step by step instructions of a particular process for fermenting foods; you will find simple and more complex recipes in each of these, as well as suggestions for their use. This book represents the culmination of my lifetime of experiences with wholefoods and fermentation. The 270 pages in this hardback will provide you information tips and tricks along with fabulous recipes for making, utilising and caring for a wide variety of cultured foods. It includes all you need to start fermenting or to expand your repertoire.

To pre-order your signed copy from Holly before September 2nd here or grab a copy in all good bookstores from September 1st.
To celebrate the launch of Ferment and meet Holly, there are many opportunities...
Cornersmith Picklery, Marrickville / Holly in conversation - Wednesday 6th September 6pm (free)
Northside Produce Markets, North Sydney - Saturday 16th September 10am (free)
Food and Words Talks at No 1 Bent Street, Sydney - Tuesday 26th September 6.30pm Cost $95 including three course dinner - Tickets here

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