Ferment A guide to the ancient art of culturing foods is about to be unleashed upon Australia and the UK. This book bears my name alone and the insignia of the publishing house Murdoch Books. It’s a fine thing to see this dream realised. Though I have indeed poured countless hours and many years into the research, writing, recipe development and editing, most especially the editing! this books owes its beautiful countenance and existence to a group of extraordinary people. Should you buy a copy and of course I do hope you will, please take a moment to turn to page 271 and 272, the last but perhaps most important pages. This is where those who contributed to me and the book are duly acknowledged. There was not room enough there for me to pour out my heartfelt appreciation to those that made this possible and as useful as I believe it will be. I found these images, which show a little of the story about the shooting of the images and the overall look and feel but before those folk, there is Jane Morrow who commissioned, oversaw and published this work and her wonderful team at Murdoch Books to applaud, I applaud you Jane, Viv and Katie and all who assisted you. Although it was a steep learning curve for me, it was such a great pleasure to learn from you while we worked. Your tireless efforts have resulted is something I will treasure forever. A manuscript is just the beginning of an inordinate amount of detailed scrutiny; so that what is known and written by an author, can be fully understood and utilised by its readers. Katie Bosher, gave this book and me so very much and I am very aware that it is far more useful to many more people as a result of your efforts. Viv your contribution to the layout and design have resulted in something I am delighted to hold and promote, thank you. Yolande Gray, seen above in her lovely home with photographer Ben Dearnley, introduced herself to me in 1997, as a ‘book designer’, I believe I said ‘what’s that’. She was interested to and did design my first book Nourish, Food By Holly Davis published in 1999, if you have one or can find one, you will see it has a timeless beauty and that it holds its own on bookshelves today. This is due to Yoande’s concept, fabulous design, styling and art direction and Geoff Lung’s superb photography. Yolande and I became friends in the process and my life has been touched by hers ever since. Over the years we discussed my writing a book about fermentation and I described my wish to communicate the ubiquitous presence of beneficial microbes. I spoke of the idea, which I garnered and adopted from another dear friend, Dr Rosalba Courtney, that traditional societies lived with a range of fermenting foods and as they looked after these and ate them, they seeded their digestion with the beneficial microbes that liked to consume the food groups they ate,I love this idea. (Katie, I know that last sentence is too long and it should probably be three.) Yolande, your ideas and execution, art direction and design have so perfectly expressed what I wished to convey. Witnessing you at work is a beautiful thing, how you hold the vision and ‘know’ what is required to make an image work is a marvel. Big love, appreciation and gratitude for all that my friend. So too for schlepping half your home to the shoot and providing your home to shoot in. I learned many years ago that it is a good idea to surround yourself with people who will demand more of you than you would yourself, you are that for me, for which I am also very grateful.Michelle Noerianto, happy in her work styled the food you will see and Ben photographed it and edited the photos to look just the way you see them. These two are quiet achievers calm and gentle whilst being consummate professionals, who make what is incredibly challenging seem like a snack! This is in Ben’s studio and Michelle is artfully placing Quick-Pickled Cucumber and Radish Shoyuzuke for the shot on page 123. Along with all the rest Ben and Michelle gave their all and went way above and beyond to create what you will see between the covers of Ferment. They were a delight to be with and again I learned a great deal about the play of light and ways with cultured cream. Michelle can make the impossible beautiful, without ever resorting to the kinds of things you might think food stylists get up to. No artificial anything was used including light and all the food was devoured with gusto once signed off. Yolande, Ben and Michelle, I could not have had a better time or been more fulfilled working with you all thank you.
Behind the scenes Gabriella Campbell toiled tirelessly with me, cooking and cleaning, non stop for 10 days. Marly’s Toasted Macadamia and Banana Pancakes on page 55 and The Masa Harina Tortilla on page 35 were both made by her and the shiitake mushrooms across from Pickled Mushrooms and Celery on page 106 she bought on the other side of town, in peak hour traffic, that is no small ask. You are a gem Gabby and I am so happy to know you, thank you for every thing.
When you flip through the pages of Ferment spare these wonderful people a thought and know, it takes a whole lot of talented people to produce a beautiful book. My wish is that it bring you delicious and sparkling results and do you and those you love good. You dear readers, get a big thank you too.