Obsessed: A Man and His Mold


Though he lacks formal training in cooking, Shih has established himself as something of a koji authority, in part because of a seemingly relentless drive to experiment with the mold—creating koji from a range of unusual grains, including emmer and teff—and using it for novel purposes, like dry-aging meats. He’s also collaborated with a number of chefs to help demystify koji and its myriad uses, projects that have come about only because he rarely hesitates to reach out to people. “I’ve never been afraid to ask people questions,” Shih says.
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