The story behind Edible Alchemy

In an antibacterial age, fermentation is quickly becoming a lost art. Edible Alchemy is here to reclaim it as an energy-efficient food preservation technique which has deep roots in our cultural histories. We are captivated and inspired by the way fermented foods engage our senses and enhance whole food eating.

When we, Alexis and Natalie, founded Edible Alchemy in Canada in 2012 we could not know the ensuing success story of microbes and the human microbiome. We were still in the era of hand sanitizer, plentiful use of antibiotics and general bacterial eww. The vast majority of people considered deliberately creating living food – using bacteria, yeast, or, heaven forbid!, spores – just as mad as the original alchemists’ endeavour of trying to make gold from dirt.

Why then did we see ourselves as alchemists in the first place? Short answer: transformation. Transformation through fermentation! We were and are alchemists in the sense that we turn simple, inexpensive ingredients into valuable, probiotic, complexly tasting ferments. And unlike the alchemists of old, we succeed (almost) every time! We create natural umami, the gold of high cuisine.

Edible Alchemy’s journey with fermentation has been, just like bacteria and yeasts, ever changing, forming, proliferating and expanding. In 2014 Alexis took the philosophy of Edible Alchemy and many microbial pets to Berlin to open up the first Probiotic Bacteria Bar. Her goal: to discover the great excitement and curiosity of bacteria, yeast and mold in Europe.

In Berlin, Alexis teamed up with Jonas, a drama teacher, ecologist, and amateur chef. While the original philosophy of Edible Alchemy remained intact, the new union has resulted in several additions.

First, we have become more focussed on the „edible“ aspect of the brand. Fermented foods are the third dimension in culinary composition. With raw and cooked ingredients, meals are not one-, but, well, two-dimensional. Constant fusion experiments with all three layers gave rise to one of our more recent formats, the 52 Seasons Dinner.

Second, we have become more ecological. Fermentation means energy-efficient food preservation. Regional, seasonal agricultural produce as well as foraged foods can be enjoyed year round without refrigeration or chemical preservatives. In addition, fermented components add not only complex flavours but also very often provide umami tastes without having to resort to meat. Two of many ways in which fermentation reduces your CO2 footprint!

Third, we aim for the holistic unification of culinary pleasure, sustainable food, and your personal gut health. Because fermentation breaks down plant proteins to make them more digestible and several nutrients more bioavailable, Edible Alchemy helps making vegan and vegetarian diets tastier and healthier. In fact, any diet.

Coincidentally, our love of food transformation and experimentation as well as our interest and understanding of how food works in our bodies has been one of the recent sociocultural trends. Bacteria Girl or Bacteria Dealer hasn’t always been the most attractive of nicknames, but we have seized the opportunity to spread our – at the time – strange news about bacteria and a healthy microbiome. Also, in the last few years fermentation has gained popularity in the culinary scene with the advent of the Nordic Food revolution. Most importantly, we have been avoiding food waste for years, and fermenting regional and seasonal produce for a minimal CO2 footprint; before sustainability was a buzzword and before the term ‘climavore’ was born. Edible Alchemy is honoured to have been a part of it.

Hindsight is 20/20 you say? We heartily welcome you to have a chat with us about „what is next?“ in the world of edible alchemy lowercase, with Edible Alchemy at the vanguard, in the Academy, at one of our Bacteria Bars or live after a workshop.

Edible Alchemy Academy

When we launched Edible Alchemy, there were many visions for what it could become. Overall, our mission to engage with people about fermentation, wherever we can, turned us into ‘culture dealers’, ‘bacteria baristas’, workshop facilitators, edutainers (educational entertainers) and has even lead to the development of our online fermentation course to spread the bacterial knowledge worldwide. This online academy allows you to access the world of fermentation through video tutorials, PDFs and creative recipes on your own time in the comfort of your own home. Once signed up for a course, you will see that more recipes and skills will be added to the curriculum so your fermentation skills can proliferate and develop. Join our online community of alchemists from around the world!

Edible Alchemy CoLaboratory

Edible Alchemy CoLaboratory is the umbrella of all of our active social platforms that empower members to share knowledge and feedback with us and one another. The aim: to promote healthy lifestyles, food skills and creative experimentation through fermentation and community sharing.

We would love to have you apart of our community! Sign up for our newsletters, contribute a recipe, join a workshop, take an online course or check out our Instagram!

kimchi edible alchemy