Todd Spanier is known by many to be a kind, considerate, and passionate person, but he is better known as the “King of Mushrooms.” Todd is a well-known figure within the food industry, and is considered to be a pioneer of the “sustainable” and “wild food” movements in California. Todd’s company, King of Mushrooms, has been an essential and valued purveyor of wild foods for hundreds of local restaurants and businesses for almost twenty years. King of Mushrooms has helped create a community of local chefs, farmers, and foragers whose dedication to sustainable food assures that there is a steady supply of fresh, wild and exotic mushrooms as well as other choice edibles.
At age five, Todd was introduced to mushrooms and other various wild edibles by both of his grandfathers. Taking hikes and searching for different types of mushrooms became a weekly occurrence, and the more knowledgeable Todd became, his passion and interest for nature and the outdoors grew. His grandfathers taught him about different mushroom habitats, the influences of lunar cycles, rain, and temperature, and most importantly they taught him how to sustainably pick the mushrooms he most desperately sought out. Todd eventually became involved with the Boy Scouts of America where his skills and understanding of the wilderness further developed. He eventually received his eagle scout award, which is the highest honor a boy scout can receive.
Todd and his family would often go mushroom hunting together, and the person who found the largest mushroom that day was “the king.” One afternoon, Todd went hunting alone and stumbled upon an incredible porcini patch, and was able to pick hundreds of beautiful mushrooms. Todd brought them home, displayed them, and realized that he and his family were not going to eat them all. Having an incredible respect and appreciation for nature, Todd did not want to waste anything and immediately brought his fresh porcini into a local restaurant where he made his first sale. By the end of high school, Todd had already established many accounts with local restaurants.
In 1996, Todd founded King of Mushrooms, a purveyor of sustainable foods specializing in mushrooms, truffles, and other wild edibles. His company has become one of the top purveyors on the west coast thanks to excellent customer service, pricing, and quality products. King of Mushrooms loyal clientele, friends, and family are what keep King of Mushrooms thriving, and Todd’s company is constantly evolving in efforts to become more efficient and green.
Todd is also a passionate advocate for food safety concerning wild foods that are harvested sustainably. Proper identification, which is extremely important when handling and consuming mushrooms is one of Todd’s major concerns as well. Todd is a life-time member of the San Francisco Mycological Society, as well as many other fungus-focused groups such as the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz. Todd also participates in many mushroom and truffle events throughout the year where he sells, lectures about, and identifies mushrooms for curious attendees. Todd is very knowledgeable and has traveled as far as Italy to give lectures on mushrooms and truffles, and is known as an expert in his field.
Todd has lived in the bay area his whole life and currently resides in San Mateo with his beautiful wife Cristina Spanier. They have been married for almost five years now, and Cristina’s love and support has been a blessing for Todd. Cristina and Todd often hunt mushrooms together as husband and wife, and usually participate in mushroom events together. Foraging for wild mushrooms is Todd’s birthright and is a major part of Todd’s family heritage. Todd’s family has been foraging for wild foods for more than three generations, and now Todd and Cristina are happy to continue this family legacy.