I began to be curious about what wild food was around the area just after we opened the restaurant Food.
We are restricted to what ingredients we can use as we stick to strictly local, organic and seasonal criteria.
Our focus in the restaurant is on health and the benefits on which we consume will change the way we think about food in this crazy, exciting world we live in today.
So, it made sense with all this in mind to head out and see what is around us, not only because it ticks the box of staying local and seasonal but I was more curious about the medicinal benefits of the foliage and plants nearby.
I started over in Two Tree Island, leigh on sea. I began with the simple ingredients that I knew from reading a book or two about foraging during my career and listening to other chef that head out into the wild!
Sea purslane, sea beet, samphire, fennel is where it all began for me. I believe in anything we do in life we have to start small to what our restrictions are, then we grow as we become more curious. It did not take long for me to be curious. I knew that the other plants/weeds out there were edible but I just did not know for sure what they are. Also using them in my restaurant I would have to know all about them.
I went on a course, in Suffolk with two incredibly knowledgeable foragers Matt Rooney and Monica Wilde.
This was an eye opener for me we walked around The Arger Fen & spouses Vale nature reserve with these stars of the foraging world and I felt so grateful to have this opportunity to do so.
I learnt so much about what not to pick, how to pick, where the plants are located, what time of the season to find them all.
I’m now obsessed!
To name a few that we found:
Wild mustard, Hawthorn flowers, Cleavers, Dead nettle, Burdock, Elm, Wild garlic, Beech, cows slip, Figwort, Broom, hops, yarrow, watercress, fiddles head
I thank you Monica and Matt for giving me more knowledge to share with others about foraging for food and now I’m dedicated to learn the health benefits for my guests.