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Ian Purkayastha    

Founder, Regalis Foods

At age 18 Purkayastha has appeared on the Manhattan food scene by peddling one of the culinary world’s most prized ingredients. Truffles.

Purkayastha grew up in Arkansas, in a family of adventurous eaters. When he was 14 he ate some wild mushrooms that his uncle found in the woods near his parents’ home. Soon he was digging up the forest, looking for edible fungus. A year later he tried truffles for the first time and was hooked. “All I could talk about was truffles and food,” he recalls. “It’s not the kind of thing the average high school kid loves.”

In 2010 Purkayastha sold $900,000 worth to high-end restaurants like Daniel, Jean-Georges and Per Se, where dinner tabs routinely hit $200 per person.

Purkayastha also discovered the dirtier side of the truffle trade. Some competitors pressured him to raise his prices; others passed off cheaper Chinese truffles as more pungent, higher quality black winter truffles.

Purkayastha wants to be more than just an importer. Two years ago he approached Hudec, his parents’ neighbor, about converting part of his 300-acre ranch into a truffle orchard. Hudec, who also raises buffalo, cattle and horses, agreed to invest $5,000 to buy 200 hazelnut trees from a company in Oregon. He spread 50 tons of lyme to make the soil acidic enough for truffles, which will take four years to mature. The men plan to split the proceeds. “His enthusiasm and motivation to succeed is very contagious,” says Hudec. “To see the light in his eye puts light in mine.”

News


How a Texas Teen-Ager Became New York City's Premier Truffle ...

Ian Purkayastha, the twenty-four-year-old wunderkind behind the luxury-food company Regalis, aims to “demystify this bourgeois product for a new generation.

Inside the Elusive World of Truffles with Expert Ian Purkayastha ...

Ian Purkayastha has already done more in his 24 years than most do in twice that time. From his first taste of truffles as a teen, he's turned a love of the elusive ...

Why Do People Pay Good Money For Bad Smelling Truffles? : NPR

STACEY VANEK SMITH, BYLINE: I meet Ian Purkayastha at a warehouse in Queens. It's late morning and a big shipment of truffles has just come in from Italy.

The man behind the truffles of NYC's restaurant scene - Video - Luxury

From his warehouse in Queens, Ian Purkayastha's company, Regalis Foods, supplies 90 percent of the Michelin-endorsed restaurants in Manhattan with truffles.

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