Munchies

The Art of the Truffle Hustle Is Anything But Easy

On the latest podcast episode, we explore how the hustle is real in pushing weight with one of the most expensive products on the market.

by Helen Hollyman
Feb 9 2017, 5:00pm

So far, there's been a lot of stinky things dominating 2017, but at least truffles have been giving off a pleasant stench.

We took a month off from MUNCHIES: The Podcast, but we're back with a brand new season to take your mind off reality. To kick things off, we're using truffles to take you down a strange rabbit hole in the world of haute cuisine.

This has come up on the show a few times and—if you've been listening—you probably know that I've worked some bizarre jobs before winding up as editor-in-chief of MUNCHIES. About five years ago, I secretly worked as a truffle dealer. I was trying to make it as a freelance writer, and I was selling this stuff on the side to pay the bills. But I think that's one of the really inimitable things about New York City: If you can imagine a weird opportunity or some way to make income here, there's probably someone else doing it.

Truffle dealer Ian Purkayastha, owner of Regalis Foods, is that person. (He's also my former boss). Purkayastha sells a variety of rare, seasonal, and foraged ingredients to some of America's best chefs, but truffles are the heart of his business and he's only 24.

On the latest episode of MUNCHIES: The Podcast, we're diving into the mysterious world of dealing this expensive product by traveling to Purkayastha's warehouse to discuss old times, the weird stuff we've witnessed together—from professional clowns crying on the streets of Manhattan to ongoing rivalries with mushroom foragers and truffle hunters—and learn about what he's excited about selling right now.

So tune into the podcast, subscribe on iTunes if you like it, and tell your friends to do the same. To learn more about Ian Purkayastha, check out his brand new memoir, Truffle Boy, which chronicles his journey from high school to top dealer, and includes some juicy stories from our time spent pushing weight together.