Who is behind Gentleman Forager?
Gentleman Forager embraces the outdoors. From wild foraged mushrooms and plants, to organically cultivated exotic mushrooms and organically cultivated micro greens, we provide sustainable and healthy food products to restaurants and innovative chefs. As part of a growing ecosystem, we also offer classes, weekend events, guided outings and wild food dinners.
“Wild and Local” and “Farm to Table” are the fastest and most impactful food and trends today. LOHAS – Life of Health and Sustainability – is used to promote a wide array of products, with one of the most individually meaningful being healthy eating. Gentleman Forager is on the forefront of this movement.
Behind Gentleman Forager is Mike Kempenich. With more than 40 years of foraging experience, Mike’s background includes:
Excellence in commercial cloning and cultivation of wild mushrooms
Past instructor for the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin Extension’s Wild Mushroom Certification classes – necessary for all foragers to sell mushrooms commercially
Contributing content writer and photographer for The Minnesota Harvester Handbook, published by the University of Minnesota Press
Member of the Wild Mushroom Advisory Committee – Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health
Member of the Minnesota and North American Mycological Societies
I feel it is our direct responsibility to ensure that everything we sell is a true wild product, harvested in a sustainable manner or, that it is certified organically grown in the event it must be farmed. Our foraged products from the forests are harvested by pickers who are skilled at both proper identification and sustainable harvesting practices. We believe strongly in every person’s obligation to be an outstanding steward of our woods and waters in order to ensure that legacy is enjoyed by future generations.
Chris Daniels is a native of Anoka Minnesota, and has been an avid outdoors-man all of his life. Fish, fowl and game have all been pursued by Chris, from Minnesota to Alaska, the Dakota’s, Colorado and Utah. Chris enjoys cooking the bounty of the land as much as the hunt, and shares his passion and cooking with others. Given the choice of only 1 mushroom, he said his choice is the Black Trumpet….or Shaggy Mane….or….. Heck, he likes them all.
Sr. Fungal Extraction Logistical Engineer
Larry Kruchowski is a native of Northern Minnesota, having spent all of his life in this remote part of the country. As an expert forager, hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman, Larry is uniquely qualified to be a member of our field team. For many years, he has also been a wholesale bait dealer, which has given him the opportunity to explore every dirt road leading to nowhere ever to exist in this remote half of our state. Larry has been personally trained by Mike on identification of wild mushrooms and how to care for them as if they were his babies. He has an incredible eye for finding just the right land to produce the most beautiful mushrooms on earth!
Sr. Jamboree Leader
Growing up in Columbia, Missouri, Kevin enjoyed the outdoors from his trips to the trails and trout streams of the Show-me state. In High School, he became fascinated with the culinary arts and after some time in Columbia, he attended the Culinary Institute in Arizona. There he worked full time at Olive and Ivy alongside Chef Anthony Smith. Post graduation Kevin started his apprenticeship in Minneapolis at Fugaise alongside Don Saunders, eventually being hired by Chef Don. Kevin went on to spend time at several notable Minneapolis restaurants including Burough, Nicollet Island Inn, Victory 44 and others. His love of the outdoors, his background in the restaurant industry, and his growing knowledge of wild plants and mushrooms have made Kevin a valuable asset at Gentleman Forager.