Georgia Pellegrini is a true modern pioneer.Author of Food Heroes and Girl Hunter, Pellegrini is a champion of the self-sufficient lifestyle, but she wasn’t always such a daring pioneer woman. Once, she worked in the corporate world of finance and, like many office workers, dreamed of freedom. Unlike many, however, she had the guts to do it.
“I just realized I was unhappy,” says Pellegrini. “I wanted to get back to my roots and connect with the land. The thing about being unhappy is it always makes you think of what makes you happy, and for me that was food and cooking, which was why I chose to go to culinary school. It was a leap of faith.
More on PellegriniGeorgia Pellegrini: Female, Hunter, Pioneer
“I’ve always been super motivated, so I just put my mind to it and dove in headfirst. It was a big risk, but it was more important to be happy than financially secure.”
It was a big risk for Pellegrini, but one that ultimately paid off with the greatest success. After studying cooking in New York, Pellegrini had the opportunity to cook in La Chassagnette in France.
“The French were the founders of gourmet cuisine,” Pellegrini explains. “[Our fine cuisine] is based on theirs so much. French and all Europeans have a real understanding of and appreciation for food that you just can’t duplicate… they really allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. There’s simplicity that lets the food shine. I try to choose restaurants that are about that.”
It was in France that Georgia began writing and considering the value of knowing where a meal came from. “So much of the food we eat today is so processed and marbled, it’s awful… We’re all so disconnected from reality and so involved in this sort of virtual world. Everything these days is too manufactured.”
It is for this very reason that Pellegrini’s father became a vegan, but he makes exceptions for Georgia’s cooking, which is healthy and free of the taint of manufacture.
“My family is super excited with what I’m doing,” Pellegrini says, and they have a lot to be excited about.
Not only is Pellegrini an accomplished chef, hunter, and author, she is also the host of an exciting series of adventure getaways, geared for women who want to get in touch with nature. Her next getaway will take place April 3-6, at Destination Kohler in in Kohler, Wisconsin.
“Each getaway is different,” says Pellegrini. “Kohler is beautiful. It’s just a wonderful outdoor playground.” Moreover, Kohler’s American Club Resort offers exactly the sort of atmosphere Pellegrini prefers to offer on her getaways.
“Women have some different comfort needs,” she explains.”Kohler gives the perfect combination of adventure and amenities.”
Participants will have access to the five star Kohler Waters Spa, yoga lessons, and luxurious receptions in which ladies can sip scotch and discuss the events of the day, all to help them wind down from their action-packed itinerary. Over the course of the four-day outing, the ladies will enjoy freshwater fishing, trap and five-stand shooting, bird hunting with dog guides, and wildlife cleaning and cooking demonstrations, which can test the fortitude of the weaker stomach.
“It’s very action-packed. People have such a blast. They don’t want it to stop. It’s such a wonderful spectrum, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s only a weekend but it feels like a week.
“On each weekend you make so many new best friends. Many of these women come as strangers and form a lifelong bond. There are even reunions. It’s a great and rewarding way to bring people together.”
The getaways are open to women of all experience levels, from accomplished hunters to beginners. “Women are split up according to experience, so nobody feels pressured or held back,” Pellegrini says. More experienced hunters are paired with the more experienced, less with less, so that everyone can get what they want out of the weekend. “They’re all there to support each other. It’s about support and stepping out of your comfort zone.”
Likewise, Georgia offers different getaways with varying levels of comfort and luxury.
“[The ladies] always enter with a clear sense of what they want. Some [getaways] are more rugged for those who want to try roughing it. But they always go in with a clear understanding. Depends on the individual.”
When asked about the start of the getaways, Pellegrini had this to say: “It started on accident. After Girl Hunter, I took a bunch of other food writers on a getaway, which I called the Girl Hunter weekend. Afterwards, I got so many inquiries about another one. I hadn’t planned it, but I decided to try it out. It just snowballed from there.”
The getaways have been a tremendous success for Pellegrini, taking her all over the country and forming deep friendships that will last a lifetime.
“The weekends have been absolutely charmed. No rain problems, but even if there were, there’s so much to do. It’s never dull… If you want to bail on an activity you can, and you can add things, too. It’s all about bonding.
“There’s a real desire among women to have a visceral experience. We all have that desire. I feel like a sort of the messenger. I’m there to give entry.
“Each getaway gets better. You think they won’t but they do. Everything is about being in the moment and experiencing it. You have such personal, private moments. It’s about that unique bond. You can’t duplicate it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
Since not everyone can join her on one of her getaways or hunt their own food, Pellegrini hopes to reach out to a wider audience. In her new book, Modern Pioneering: More Than 150 Recipes, Projects, and Skills for a Self-Sufficient Life, she plans to help anyone in any circumstance to live life more viscerally.
“Well, it’s really not just a cookbook or a craft book. It’s a lifestyle guide. About a holistic way of life. It’s not just about what you eat or how you make things.” Pellegrini wants to encourage her readers to be adventurous and empowered, getting in touch with many basic self-sufficient skills she feels many people today have lost. “That’s the point. It’s basic.”
Men can benefit from Pellegrini’s books as well. Pellegrini says that she has a huge male readership, largely as a result of her hunting exploits. As such, Pellegrini has written a book for men and women alike, intended to empower the reader and remove vulnerability.
“I want people to rely on themselves more. Step off the grid a bit. We’re all so connected to technology. We live such busy, frenetic lives, and we need to be more grounded in reality. It makes us better humans, better stewards of the land, better to one another.”
Pellegrini states that her chief goal for the book is to “bring joy and fun to lives,” but she has also become aware of what a role model she has become to young girls and women. “I feel the weight of that responsibility. There’s not a lot of good role models for women these days. It’s about teaching them self-sufficiency.”
When asked about her favorite new recipe, Pellegrini answered “It’s like choosing between your children. It was a labor of love. The goal was really to give people a chance to get back to the land, if only through a fire escape or a planter. If all you have is a fire escape, then you can grow 25 pounds of potatoes in your fire escape. You can upcycle beer bottles into glass wear or make your own cheese in 30 minutes. It’s fun, stylish, modern, and applicable, but it’s also thrifty and pioneering like your grandmother used to do.
“[Modern Pioneering is about] manual literacy. We’re all so specialized, we all have college degrees, but we don’t know basic stuff… It’s wonderful to be in touch with basic human skills.”
After accomplishing so much, there seems to be no end to Pellegrini’s upward momentum. The only question is, what comes next?
“There’s so much I don’t know. I’m no expert. I have a lot on my bucket list… All of us are on a quest to learn. I try to learn something new every day. For example, last week I learned from a woman welder some welding. I’m always learning new things, and that’s how it should be… I want to take it one day at a time.
“We should try not to be deterred when we come across something we don’t know or don’t understand. We have this fear of the things we don’t understand and we need to step in and decide to learn”
Though she’s still taking life one day at a time, Pellegrini does have some exciting new plans on the horizon. At the moment, she is working on a TV show which we hope to see in the next nine months. But her heart remains in her work to make people happy and living life to its fullest.
To order Pellegrini’s new book, go here.
Featured image courtesy Georgia Pellegrini/Mackenzie Stroh