Koji is Transforming How American Chefs Think About Food and Flavor

Kate Leahy

A few years ago, when organizers behind a series of Cleveland-based TED Talks reached out to Jeremy Umansky for story ideas, he pitched them a presentation about the universe of organisms—the life, the chaos, the destruction—that exists in six ounces of sauerkraut. The topic was too out there, “so I told them that I had been experimenting with koji for six months,” the chef says.