Melbourne's #1 Food Market

THIS AUGUST, Damian Pike, more commonly known as ‘The Mushroom Man,’ celebrates 30 years at Prahran Market. The popular stalwart made his foray into the food lover’s Market in 1986 with his eponymous mushroom stall, Damian Pike Wild Mushroom Specialist – the first and only specialist mushroom stall in Melbourne.

Damian’s love affair with mushrooms began when he returned to Australia after working as a chief steward for an American offshore company. Always fascinated by food, Damian was on the hunt for a shop he could call his own, and soon found the perfect spot at Prahran Market, where it became clear he would specialise in mushrooms.

“I’ve always been interested in the use, texture and flavour of mushrooms in all different types of cuisines,” he says. “I’ve also been very fortunate to work in an industry that’s brought me up to respect the people and the product.”

Encouraged in the early days by a wave of chefs establishing themselves in Melbourne, including Phillipe Mouchel, Jacques Reymond and Stephanie Alexander, Damian was regularly asked for specialty mushrooms like enoki, shitake and wood fungus. Not one to disappoint, his answer would always be: ‘No, but I’ll get them for you’.

From here, Damian began sourcing mushrooms from all over the world, cementing himself as Melbourne’s premium mushroom dealer. Now 30 years on, he specialises in a diverse offering spanning European and Asian varieties, as well as unusual seasonal ingredients like white asparagus, china white peaches, finger limes and winter truffles.

With a seemingly endless list of awards, from an order of Australia for services to the fruit and vegetable industry, to the small mushroom retailer award at the Mushroom Association of Australia Awards; Damian remains one of Melbourne’s most sought after specialty grocers. However, despite all the accolades and recognition, he still remains humble.

“I’m not anyone special, I’m just me. I enjoy what I do and if I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t be here.”

Happy Birthday Damian, from everyone at Prahran Market.

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