Two weeks ago, six women — five chefs and one “avid foodie” — took to the wilds of Northern China for a hunting and fishing expedition. Traci des Jardins of Jardiniere and Loretta Keller of Coco500, both in San Francisco, as well as Mary Sue Millikin of Ciudad in L.A., joined New Yorkers April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The John Dory, Anita Lo of Annisa, and Lo’s best friend, Laurie Fitch, to hunt wild buck and boar in Mongolia.
“I’m glad I did it once, but it isn’t something I personally feel the need to do again,” Lo told Fork in the Road upon her return. “There’s a lot of waiting around involved [in hunting].”
The ladies stayed in traditional yurts, where they fished in a nearby river and cooked the wild buck they caught.
“The thing with wild game is that it’s not that tender, so we ate a lot of it raw. We had some nice loin, just seared, black and blue. And some venison tartare that I made.”
Lo, no stranger to distant travels, said she’d done plenty of fishing before, but never hunted. The experience of breaking down a whole animal — skins, bones, everything — was an interesting one. But when asked the inevitable question of how being a woman informed her experience, she dismissed it with: “I think gender is a social construct.”
Don’t expect Mongolian influences to creep into the menu at Annisa when it reopens. Lo can’t see herself boiling meat, as is the practice there. As for when her restaurant will reopen (it closed this past month after a fire), she isn’t sure.
“It’s hard to say,” said Lo. “I’m hoping for the fall.”
In the meantime, Lo is gearing up to cook for a SHARE (Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer) fundraiser September 21. She recently won her episode of Top Chef Masters, which resulted in a $10,000 donation to SHARE.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 30, 2009