Fungus Fair 2014 - Speaker and Chef Bios


David Arora David Arora is an American mycologist and author. He has written several books and articles, the best known of which are Mushrooms Demystified and All That the Rain Promises, and More. Most recently he was a major contributor to a special ethnomycological issue of Economic Botany, a journal published by the New York Botanical Garden.

David founded the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair in 1975. His interests range from mushroom harvest and usage around the world to mushroom ecology, taxonomy, cuisine, foraging culture and storytelling. All of these subjects are likely to be touched upon during "The Wheel of Fungi." The Saturday and Sunday presentations have the same title but will not cover the same material. David says of them: "Without giving too much away, I will be giving something away."



Philip Carpenter Phil Carpenter has been a mushroom picker (versus "hunter") all of his life, having started picking midwest morels at a very early age. He has been pursuing mycology for over 30 years in California. He has been a member of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz for the full 25 years since it was founded, and has been an officer in the club for at least 23 of those years.

Except for a class given by David Arora in 1978, his extensive knowledge of mushrooms is self-taught. He has been associated with the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair for over 30 years and has been the chairperson or co-chairperson for nearly 10 years. Phil is often called upon to identify mushrooms for club members and in poisoning cases.



Christopher Hobbs Christopher Hobbs, LAc, AHG, is a fourth-generation herbalist and third-generation botanist whose life-long passion for plants was sparked at the age of 5, and then discovered mushrooms at 23. After 40 years of actively teaching and learning about the natural world, he is still ardently listening to what the plants and fungi have to teach.

The author of 25 books on health and herbal medicine, a licensed acupuncturist with more than 15 years of clinical experience, Hobbs is now a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley in the plant sciences, especially evolutionary biology, biochemistry, botany, and ethnobotany.


David Rust David Rust is co-founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society (BAMS!). He has helped organize three All California Club Forays and coordinated the Mycoblitz cooperative science forays at Point Reyes National Seashore. He has given talks at the Point Reyes Fungus Fair, Santa Cruz Fungus Fair, the Cascade Mycological Society, the Colorado Mycological Society, and the Sonoma County Mycological Association.

He has followed research on the devastating forest pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which causes the disease known as Sudden Oak Death (SOD). He is a member of the California Oak Mortality Task Force. Rust has written for Mushroom The Journal on the discovery and science of SOD.

David is President of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA), co-chair of NAMA's Marketing Committee, and is recipient of NAMA's Presidents Award for Outstanding Service for his work on the NAMA website.



Christian Schwarz Christian Schwarz has been seriously interested in fungi since he was in high school in San Diego. The long, dry summers there didn't suit his lifestyle, so he emigrated to Santa Cruz, the land of milk (caps) and honey (mushrooms). His travels so far have taken him all over the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Europe. He is currently in the midst of authoring 'Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast" (a fully illustrated field guide to mushrooms of California), building an online mycoflora for Santa Cruz County, and writing for his blog, Notes of a Mycophile.  Mushrooms satisfy his curiosity with their sundry forms; from the grotesque to the bizarre to the sublime. He is taxonomically interested in the genus Agaricus and the family Entolomataceae. 



Debbie Viess Debbie Viess, aka "Amanitarita", is a trained biologist, writer and artist who has been seriously obsessed with the study of all things fungi for over fifteen years. She is co-founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society (BAMS!), the newest and most dynamic, science-centric mushroom club in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has written about mushrooms extensively both online and in print, and has lectured about mushrooms to mushroom enthusiasts and the general public across the country. In March, 2008 she produced an extensive, illustrated lecture on California Amanitas for the U.C. Berkeley Natural History Museums for a "Science Cafe."

Viess has taught mushroom classes through the California Academy of Sciences, Albany Adult School, the Audubon Society, UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens and Pt. Reyes Field Seminars. Debbie was most recently published in Manzanita, the journal of the Friends of Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Her lead article, East Bay Amanitas: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful, has generated quite a bit of interest.



Tom Volk Tom is a Professor of Biology at the University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse. His areas of interest are fungal systematics (especially of Morchella and Armillaria), fungal ecology and biodiversity. He teaches classes in Mycology, Medical Mycology, Plant Biology, Plant-Microbe Interactions and  Latin Greek for Scientists. Visit his website, Tom Volk's Fungi. You'll find it engaging and entertaining. For a moving look at Tom's personal background and his unique relationship with fungi, watch this video from UW-LaCrosse.



Henry Young Henry is an amateur mycologist who has collected and studied fungi for over 30 years. He started by taking identification classes with David Arora. He joined the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz in 1986 and has been a board member since 1987. Henry attended the San Francisco State University “Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada” course taught by Dr. Dennis Desjardin and several other workshops and classes dealing with various aspects of mycology.

He has been a contributor to mushroom identification for the Santa Cruz and San Francisco Fungus Fairs. His name is on the call list at local hospitals to help identify mushrooms in poisoning cases. In between giving classes at the Fair, he works at the identification table helping to identify mushrooms.

In addition, locally, Young has led several forays at nearby state parks, and with Phil Carpenter he has taken groups of students from UCSC out to hunt during mushroom season. Besides a general interest in all types of fungi Henry has a particular interest in ascomycetes and lichens. Henry is also a member of BAMS and NAMA and has attended several national forays.



Eric Carter Chef Eric Carter is director at Cabrillo College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. In addition to classroom teaching, Eric’s responsibilities include the Pino Alto Restaurant at the Sesnon House, where students prepare and serve carefully prepared meals in beautiful surroundings. Another recent offering under Eric’s guidance is the Dare to Pair food and wine pairing event, offered with the Surf City Vintners. Aspiring chefs and vintners collaborate to create sublime pairings.

Food and wine pairings, especially involving mushrooms, will be offered at the Fungus Fair After-Hours Dinner on Saturday, January 11. Chef Eric Carter will collaborate with Eric Baugher, Director of Winemaking at Ridge Vineyards' Monte Bello Winery.




Zachary Mazi Chef Mazi has been studying herbal medicine and mushrooms for over 10 years, and combining these deep earth wisdoms with fine culinary cuisine. In 2012, Food Is Medicine emerged as a co-project of Chef Zachary Mazi and partner Dr. Juli Mazi, ND; the aim of this organization if to help people worldwide understand that their choices in food matter greatly, and yet the pressure to eat can be lessened exponentially by sticking to intuitive, local and organic options.


Jozseph Schultz Jozseph Schultz, speaker, educator and chef-proprietor of India Joze restaurant, has been a long-time fixture at the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair. His Jozeness creates intensely-flavored dishes from many countries. Published in 1993, the India Joze International Mushroom Cookbook is an incredible resource for adventurous mycophiles. You will love Jozeph’s food and his enlightening commentary about food and culture. 




Bob Wynn Growing up on a farm in upstate New York, my job of making mashed potatoes for Sunday dinner began my love for food and tools. Nothing like newly-dug spuds, butter, cream and a Sunbeam Mixmaster to whip them to perfection. As a child, I also enjoyed hunting mushrooms with my aunt. It wasn't until we moved to Santa Cruz in 1985, that I discovered the Promised Land of mushrooms. My wife, Doreen, gave me a wonderful birthday present — David Arora's mushroom ID class. We went foraging and came across a lawn-ornament sized Porcini. I knew then, we had come to the right place. Ever since, I have been cooking for club events and the Fungus Fair.