LA Chef Bruce Kalman’s wild mushrooms and polenta plate at Union Pasadena

(Originally published February 5, 2015 on

This past fall Chef Bruce Kalman introduced his dish “Wild mushrooms, Grist & Toll polenta, Pedro Ximenez vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano” on his menu at Union Pasadena, one of Los Angeles Magazine’s 2014 Best New Restaurants and also featured on Bravo’s TV’s new show Best New Restaurant.

For Chef Kalman, mushrooms and polenta are a classic combination of ingredients that complement each other incredibly well. He gets the mushrooms from Shiitake Happens– Matt Parker- who procures them from Oregon. The polenta is milled about one and an half miles from Union at Grist & Toll by Nan Kohler, and made from California organic, non GMO corn.

According to Kalman, “This polenta is one of the most prized ingredients I have the luxury of working with. I am fortunate to cook with this special polenta. I order five pounds at a time from Nan, she mills it fresh for me, and I store it in my freezer, as opposed to buying polenta that was milled- who knows when- and stored in a warehouse- for who knows how long- made from who knows what!”

This dish requires nothing other than a sautĂ© pan and a small sauce pot to prepare. Its presentation was inspired by a trip Chef Kalman took to Rome, Italy where he had some wonderful food, presented very simply. This wild mushrooms dish embodies Chef Kalman’s philosophy of simple ingredients, prepared well.

To try this seasonal dish or others on Union Pasadena‘s seasonal and market driven menu, please makereservations via Open Table directly or through Union Pasadena’s website. Union Pasadena is open for dinner seven days a week, and is located in Pasadena at 37 E. Union Street. Please also follow Union Pasadena on twitter and on facebook to get their latest updates.

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