occupational hazards

Whoops! Jonathon Sawyer Accidentally Poisoned Himself With a False Chanterelle

Sawyer, fully recovered and burger-ready.

Sawyer, fully recovered and burger-ready.Photo: Melissa Hom

"I forage all the time," Jonathon Sawyer told us at the Burger Bash on Friday night. The chef of Cleveland's Greenhouse Tavern was slinging a Provençal-inspired lamb burger that was devoid of mushrooms — not a terribly notable omission until you realize that Sawyer had to book it to the hospital recently thanks to a mushroom-foraging trip gone wrong. "The majority of the time [we forage], we do it for greens," Sawyer explained to us about his adventure with poisonous fungus. "Every once in a while, we find mushrooms that we trust. Normally I check against three different journals — I do the Audubon, I do the Smithsonian, and then I do an online one. I was so hasty because I found so many, I didn’t check in all three and I had a false chanterelle." Could it have been the seasonally topical Jack-o-Lantern mushroom? Whatever it was, Sawyer soldiered on. "My wife took me to the hospital; I was fine," he said. "I just threw up for about an hour and had to get some liquids. It was more of an embarrassment that it was anything else."

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