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  • (upbeat music)

  • Truffles are just such an elusive, mysterious ingredient.

  • These are the Spanish winter black truffles;

  • they're fromrigord.

  • They just have this alluring, earthiness quality

  • that I've never tasted before.

  • They kept me totally obsessed with them

  • for almost 10 years now.

  • My name is Ian Purkayastha,

  • and I procure hard to find ingredients from around the world,

  • mainly fresh truffles.

  • I'm a dealer of sorts; I deal truffles out of my car.

  • It definitely has this underground element.

  • (doors slam)

  • When I was younger, people used to call me the Truffle Boy.

  • I started when I was 15, and I'm now 24.

  • I'm constantly on the hunt for identifying

  • the most desirable regions that produce the very best truffles.

  • They smell really nice. Where are these guys from?

  • -Spain.

  • They've never been successfully cultivated on a commercial scale.

  • And they grow underground; and they're obviously

  • extremely rare and hard to find;

  • that's why they're worth their weight in gold.

  • (slow music)

  • As soon as the truffle is found,

  • the clock is constantly ticking,

  • because there's only a seven day shelf life.

  • They're 98 percent water; every single day that a truffle is unused, it's evaporating.

  • I still get excited every time I get a new truffle shipment in.

  • They are sent from Europe to JFK

  • where they're cleared by FDA, USDA,

  • Homeland Security and Customs.

  • I sort them, I go through every single truffle,

  • looking for imperfections,

  • and then I, basically hop in the car

  • with a box full of truffles.

  • Alright.

  • (door slam)

  • And sell to 90% of the fine dinning restaurants in New York.

  • Everyone from, David Chang to Sean Brock,

  • to Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin,

  • a variety of Michelin stared restaurants.

  • (rhythmic music)

  • During truffle season we import around $200,000 worth of truffles a week.

  • A small amount of truffles could be

  • anywhere from five to 15,000.

  • We're dealing with quite a lot of valuable product.

  • I'm doing something that I love,

  • it doesn't even feel like work anymore.

  • My warehouse smells like truffles,

  • my car smells like truffles, my apartment.

  • It's like I can't escape truffles;

  • it's like they're smothering me,

  • which is a great problem to have, I guess.

  • (chime)

(upbeat music)

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C1 US GreatBigStory truffle slam underground david chang shelf life

The Truffle Kingpin of New York City

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    April Lu posted on 2018/12/09
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