What gave you the idea to set up Herbs & Wild?
Whilst working as a chef at The Ethicurean, where I was expanding my knowledge around herbs, foraging, wild game and fermentation, I decided I needed a creative outlet to directly share the food ethos’s I am passionate about. The ultimate aim is to deepen the connection between people and the food on their plate. It began with a Supper Club last July, where I used unusual herbs and foraged wild ingredients to bring alive the best of the season’s produce, and has since organically evolved to a much wider offering of events.
What is your favourite season for foraging and wild food?
I struggle to answer ‘favourites’ questions! If it was always your ‘favourite’ season then you’d likely get rather bored of it. Foraging is about watching the changes in nature and appreciating that things come and go.
If I was pushed for an answer though, it would have to be early autumn, when there is an abundance of hedgerow berries, which are so versatile, wild mushrooms and nuts available to harvest whilst out walking.
What is your favourite wild food recipe?
It’s such a classic but the first apple and wild blackberry crumble of the year always tastes amazing. Use chestnut flour and cobnuts in the topping if you’re feeling fancy.
Why is provenance and sustainability so important to you?
Food traceability is hugely important to me – knowing the journey of our ingredients from their beginning to their purchase enables our knowledge of its welfare, production standards etc. I source what’s available in the UK, grown by local farmers and foraged from nature’s pantry, in order to appreciate the changing seasons and work with ingredients at their peak in flavour and nutrient density. This also contributes to cultivating a more sustainable food system and local food economy.
What advice would you give people who are keen to forage more and eat more wild & seasonal food?
There are so many resources out there now to refer to and give you confidence to do this.
In terms of books, there’s River Cottage Handbooks & Roger Phillips’ Wild Food
To eat seasonally, shop at your local farmer’s market and talk to them about what’s in season or look online at http://eattheseasons.co.uk/
Grow your own!
Go on foraging walks/workshops!
What would you be in another life if you weren’t doing this?
Hard to say as feel that i’m truly following life’s path! I love horses and rode a lot growing up, so perhaps do that professionally, or do something more related to my degree in Biology and Psychology.
Join us at the Flavours of Autumn workshop on 8th September where we will forage for berries, learn how to make preserves, pickles and cordials with Hannah, enjoy a delicious wild food feast cooked by her and then learn how to carve jam and chutney spoons from wood!