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Foraging and Cooking with Amanita Species

with Spike Mikulski, Jess Starwood & Stu Pickell, hosted by Robert Courteau

Notable NAMA Culinary Arts Committee (CAC) members Spike Mikulski, Jess Starwood and Stu Pickell will collaborate on this Zoom Webinar presentation focused on foraging and cooking with Amanita species. Robert Courteau, another distinguished CAC member familiar from was NAMA Webinars, will host. This Webinar will include prerecorded videos by the presenters, who will be available afterward to answer all your questions. Robert will be whipping up a simple, no-frills beginner dish live between vids!

Featured Presenter Bios

Spike Mikulski

Spike is the Executive Chef at Pot au Feu Bistro in Providence, Rhode Island, where he gets to prepare and serve foraged ingredients you can't find on any other menu in New England. Spike is Rhode Island's first mushroom forager approved by the State to sell wild mushrooms commercially and he teaches the State's certification program once a year for those also interested in foraging mushrooms for local restaurants and markets. During the rainy season, Spike enjoys studying the Amanitaceae, some of which make up his top ten edibles. Unfortunately for Rhode Island, there are no Amanita approved for sale, so you will not find them on the menu at Pot au Feu. He does, however, get to utilize his experience as an Amanita Expert and Northeast specialist for the "Poisons Help; Emergency Identification for Mushrooms & Plants" Facebook group as an identifier. In the off-season, he has taken a fascination to learning food molds and plant pathogens commonly seen in the modern kitchen, observing occurrences like "sour-rot" on sweet potato caused by Geotrichum candidum (which is utilized in cheese making) or garlic bulbs being parasitized by Penicillium corymbiferum (known for its antibiotic properties). Spike has a few of his dishes featured on Instagram at @1wd2ef3rg4th5yj6uk7il He also has some educational Amanita Identification videos on his YouTube Channel.

Jess Starwood

Jess is an author, naturalist, herbalist and wild food chef with a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine. She recently published Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager's Guide to Finding, Identifying and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi with Countryman Press. Jess has worked as a wild-food consultant and forager for Los Angeles chefs Aitor Zabala of Somni and Niki Nakayama of n/naka. Jess has been teaching wild foods and nature education classes for children and adults since 2014. She founded The Wild Path School, a wild-food apprenticeship and education program, in 2020 that strives to connect the community to nature and the foods we eat in a positive, healing and sustainable way. She also leads immersive foraging adventures, multi-course gourmet wild food dinners and other food-focused experiences on the West Coast, Southwest United States and Mexico. Jess is the editor of The Sporeprint, heads the Mycophagy & Culinary Group (McLAMS) for the NAMA-affiliated Los Angeles Mycological Society, as well as a new board member for the NAMA-affiliated Arizona Mushroom Society.

Visit her websites at and

Stuart Pickell

Stu Pickell is a multi talented mycoenthusiast based in Los Angeles. Close encounters with slime molds while mushroom hunting led him down the rabbit hole of macro photography and he now splits his time in the forest between foraging edible mushrooms and documenting microscopic wonders. A self-taught home cook, Stu is fascinated by the multitude of aromas and flavors of wild mushrooms and experiments with unexpected flavor combinations in dishes inspired by the diversity of cuisines found in Los Angeles. Recent culinary adventures emphasize the use of wild mushrooms in desserts and mold-based fermentation with koji. While not in the kitchen or behind the camera, Stu works as an engineer on the NASA Deep Space Network, serves as the Vice President of the LA Mycological Society and travels with his pug Clara, who is trained to hunt truffles and other mushrooms.

Robert Courteau

Robert is a former chef, President of the Ottawa Mycological Society, and teacher of a variety of different in-person and online fungi classes including mushroom identification, cultivation and the history of fungi. Robert founded Think Fungi, an organization focused on the research, education and conservation of fungi.Think Fungi launched a free community for mycophiles and a mushroom marketplace to fund research projects. Think Fungi led the charge in the 2022 Great North American FungiQuest, which resulted in 150,000 observations of 4,400 species in North America in a one-month period. Robert began foraging mushrooms for the first time in 2010 as a chef in Europe and it completely changed his outlook on life. Having retired from the kitchen in 2013, he has been focused on his love of mushrooms and has been active in bringing the world of fungi to the masses through his events and courses on just about anything fungi-related. Learn more or get in touch with Robert by visiting

See you there!

Bruch Reed

Chief Operating Officer, NAMA

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