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On the Road Again

Hank Shaw's book tour map

UPDATE: 9/29/2011: Changes, changes.

  • The Corner Table dinner in Minneapolis, MN will be on MONDAY, Oct. 10 instead of Tuesday. Yes, we know it is Columbus Day, but you can still make it, yes? Chef Scott Pampuch and I just talked about menu items, and we’re looking to serve thinngs like pike, walleye, venison, pheasant, wild mushrooms, real Ojibwe wild rice, highbush cranberries, duck and other Minnesota specialties. For reservations, call 612.823.0011.
  • I’ve added a Toronto, Canada event: On Saturday, Oct. 15, I will be signing books and talking about the wild foods of the Great Lakes, and doing a cooking demo with Great Lakes fish – perch, pike, etc – at the Evergreen Brickworks. Here is the full event info.
  • Our Bozeman, MT event is cancelled, but I’ve added one at The Pollard in Red Lodge, MT for Monday, Oct. 24. Red Lodge is between Biillings and Bozeman, so hopefully people who wanted to come to Bozeman can come to Red Lodge instead. Call 406 446 0001 to make a reservation. Details on this dinner are still in the works, so just reserve a spot for Monday and you’ll be fine.

UPDATE: 8/31/11: Well, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I’ve added two more events to the fall calendar. First up is a book signing at the Beretta Gallery (yes, THAT Beretta, maker of some of the finest shotguns in the world… ) on 718 Madison Ave. in New York City on Wednesday, Sept. 21. More details to come, but as this will be a free event, anyone who can’t afford to come to our dinner at Public will want to go to this one.

Also, I will be talking about the wild foods of New England in Gloucester, Mass. on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 29. I’ll be at the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library at 7 pm. This will also be a free event.


A long time ago when I ran track, I was a pretty good miler. It was my favorite race, one I knew intimately. Most miles shared a similar rhythm: Go out fast to set a pace, settle in, see who was strong enough to hang close until the final lap, then run like hell to the finish line. As my book tour heads into its final two months, I feel like I’ve hit the third quarter-mile of the race.

The third quarter is the hardest part of running a mile. Your legs burn. Your breathing begins to become labored. You experience a moment of panic — either that the pack is catching you, or that you cannot keep up with the pack. It is the third quarter that makes you, or breaks you. I’ve been on tour since May. I’ve logged more than 17,000 miles in my trusty Toyota Tacoma, but here I sit facing the toughest part of this race: I am about to embark on a 19-city, nine-week road trip, the longest of the whole tour.

And it will make — or break — the success of Hunt Gather Cook.

Thanks to everyone out there who already has bought a copy, the book is doing well. But the jury is, apparently, still out, and people who know these things are telling me that for the book to be considered successful I must have a strong fall. So it’s back in the truck for a few thousand more miles, a few more months — and, hopefully, a few more sales of the book.

I am hopeful. Over the past three months, I’ve been to Seattle and San Francisco, Salt Lake and San Diego. I’ve been to Austin, Portland, Napa and Lake Tahoe. Along the way I’ve met scores of generous, fascinating and genuine men and women, and their knowledge and enthusiasm has given me strength when I am lonely or tired or not feeling the most charitable. I see no reason not to believe that I’ll meet more such people over the coming weeks.

I start where I began, in Texas. Labor Day weekend I expect to be somewhere in south Texas with my friend Jesse Griffiths hunting white-winged doves. If we are successful, there will be an epic dove BBQ afterwards. I’ll keep you posted…

As I’ve been doing all along, the fall tour will focus on book dinners — meals where the chef and I work together to create a seasonal, local and wild menu — a menu that attempts to distill the essence of that region at that time. I’ve written about what I am hoping to achieve with the dinners here.


Hunt, Gather, Cook book coverThe first public event of the fall tour will be a book dinner on Sept. 6 in Oklahoma City, at a restaurant called Ludivine. Chef Jonathon Stranger tells me that this event, which will focus on the wild foods of the southern Great Plains, is almost sold out — so if you want to make a reservation, call them soon at 405 778 6800.

I drive to Memphis the next day, where I will be a guest at a wild game barbecue hosted by a friend. It’ll be a private event, though. From Memphis I drive all the way to Cape Hatteras, which, as I understand it, is still kinda-sorta standing after Hurricane Irene. Some friends and I are planning a fishing trip, which could be pretty epic. You’ll hear about it if it is…

If we do well enough, we plan to bring some of our fish to Chef Ashley Christensen at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, where she has a North Carolina-centric menu planned for me on Tuesday, Sept. 13. They don’t take reservations, but call 919 832 4477 for details.

On to Richmond! I return to my old stomping grounds on Wednesday Sept. 14, where I will be doing a book dinner at The Blue Goat, which is a farm-to-table, nose-to-tail gastropub. I’ve already seen a preliminary menu, and it looks great. I used to work at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, and I used to live in Richmond, so I am really hoping for a good showing that night. I only regret that I can’t stay longer in The Holy City. If you want to come to the Blue Goat, call 804 288 8875 to make a reservation.

I head up the road to Delaware do some clamming and fishing with a friend, and on Friday, Sept. 16 I will be doing a rare bookstore event, at  Browesabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. I’ll be talking about foraging, fishing and wild food and, hopefully, sign a few books. I am always nervous about bookstore events – I fear no one will show up. Anyone from Delaware out there?

From the Delaware beach I head into Washington DC on Sunday, Sept. 18. I will be at the DuPont Circle Farmer’s Market, doing a wild foods of the Chesapeake talk, and, hopefully, doing a demo on bluefish — I love bluefish, but I know it can be tricky to make them taste good. I will show you how to do it. The event starts at 10:30 a.m.

The next night, Monday, Sept. 19, I will be in Arlington for a book dinner at a French-inspired brasserie called Lyon Hall. This should be a Chesapeake Bay area centered meal, so expect to see some seafood… and some offal. To make a reservation, call 703 741 7636 or click here.

I head to New York City from there, and on Sept. 22 I will be at the acclaimed restaurant Public, where Chef Brad Farmerie will fuse his Asian-inspired cooking style with local, wild ingredients. Brad is an especially good nose-to-tail and  fish cook, so plan on seeing some wobbly bits and unusual local fish on the menu. I expect this dinner to sell out. Email Kimberly Johnson at [email protected] or call 212 343 7011 for reservations.

On to Boston, where on Sept. 28 I will be doing a wild food, nose-to-tail New England feast with Chef Tony Maws of Craigie on Main. Much of my family lives in Massachusetts, so I am looking forward to something of a homecoming here. Craigie on Main is one of the best restaurants in Boston, so this should be a very special night. Click here for to make a reservation (top right corner of the site) or call 617 497 5511.

I dip down to Providence after Boston, where on October 2 Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead’s La Laiterie Bistro is planning a wild Rhody feast. I first started fishing and foraging on Block Island, just off the coast of Rhode Island, so I am really looking forward to this. I have no idea what Matt will come up with, but it had better have quahogs! Call 401 274 7177 for reservations. I will also be doing a talk and book signing at the Rochambeau Library in Providence earlier that day.

On October 5 I will be in Pittsburgh at the restaurant Eleven. Pennsylvania is one of the most hunting-est, fishing-est places in the country, so I can’t wait to see how Chef Derek Stevens interprets that. Check out this awesome menu! Click here or call 412 201 5656 for reservations.

The next day, on Oct. 6, I will be in Cleveland to do a book dinner at fire food and drink, one of the city’s finest farm-to-table restaurants. Cleveland is only two hours away from Pittsburgh, so the ingredients may well be similar — I am excited to see how the two chefs handle them; it’ll be sorta like an Iron Chef competition… Call 216 921 3473 for reservations, and ask for Cheryl Harrison (ext. 148), or click here.

On October 10 11 I will be back in my old stomping grounds of the Twin Cities, where Chef Scott Pampuch of The Corner Table will try to bring together as many wild Minnesota ingredients as he can. Minnesota is home to some world-class wild foods, from real, hand-harvested Ojibwe wild rice to walleye to game to wild berries. Call 612 823 0011 for details.

I’ll be in Toronto on the weekend of Oct. 15-17. On Saturday, Oct. 15 I will be doing a wild foods and foraging talk — and a cooking demo to be determined — at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market. Details of that are still to come. Then, on Monday, Oct. 17,  Ivy Knight has set up one of her 86’d events — these are hip events geared to those in the restaurant trade and their friends. Our working plan is for chefs to come in with a wild game dish. Attendees judge. Really looking forward to this one.

I leave Toronto for Detroit, where I will be at the Detroit Athletic Club speaking at a private event on Tuesday, Oct. 18. A public event in Detroit for Wednesday, Oct. 19  is in the works, and I will keep you posted on it as we get details.

From the Motor City to the City of Big Shoulders, Chicago, where I am excited about doing a dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Michelin-starred restaurant Vie. Really looking forward to this one, as Chef Paul Virant is one of the most exciting chefs in the business! Click here for reservations.

From there I start heading home. First stop is Billings, Montana, where I will be at Bin 119 on October 27 for a wild game dinner. Call 406 294 9119 for reservations. Just talked to the chef and we’re thinking about featuring bison, pheasant, local fruits and trout, plus whatever else we can find.

Bozeman is next, on Saturday, Oct. 29. Details to come, but we are hoping to put on a wild game nose-to-tail feast.

On Nov. 1 I head south to Boulder, where I will be at The Black Cat Bistro.  Boulder is one of the more serious eating towns in the country, and The Black Cat is a dedicated, farm-to-table restaurant. I am fascinated by Rocky Mountain ingredients, so this should be a stellar dinner! Call 303.444.5500 for reservations.

Finally, on Friday, Nov. 11 I will be back in the Pacific Northwest in Eugene for a series of events there. On Friday I will lead a foraging trip outside the town, and on Saturday, Nov. 12. we’ll have one last book dinner, at Marche. More details to come.


So that’s the tour. It’s me girding myself for the the third quarter, hoping I have enough strength and speed to sprint to the finish. But I cannot succeed in this effort alone. I need your help. If you live near one of these cities and can possibly make one of the events, I would love to meet you in person. If you can’t make it, maybe you know someone who can. And if you decide to buy the book, I would be eternally grateful. Every copy I sell gets me a little closer to the podium.

I’ll see you on the road…

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