The sun’s out and the weather’s warm, you couldn’t ask for a better reason to be out in the wild! Add to that the opportunity to be educated on the uses of plants and fungi in food and medicine, why wouldn’t you want to take part? We took our chefs for a walk on the wild side and travelled to the Hertfordshire woodlands to learn about foraging.
The foraging trip, organised by Dan Kelly in conjunction with our fruit and veg partner Smith & Brock, was all about inspiring and educating our chefs to develop their knowledge and use of alternative ingredients and flavours. It’s one of the many activities that we offer them to keep the creative ideas flowing…
We caught up with one of our foragers Chef De Partie, Jules Domanski who shared her thoughts on her day in the woods:
Q. What is foraging?
Jules - Foraging is the finding and gathering of edible plants in nature for the purpose of eating or for medicinal uses. Foraged produce may include fungi, roots, leaves, fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Q. What inspired you to take part in this task?
Jules - I've always been interested in foraging but never had the opportunity to do it before with a qualified guide who knows the in’s and out’s of foraging. So I happily signed up to take part in this fun day out!
Q. Has this taught you more about the food you cook with? If so, what did it teach you?
Jules - It's taught me that there are so many delicious and varied substitutes for ingredients we use every day in the kitchen. For example, did you know that many plants have starchy roots or bulbs that can be substituted for common starchy veg, like potatoes?
Q. I didn’t - that’s very interesting! Has the trip inspired you to create new recipes? If so, what recipes?
Jules - I can't wait to use garlic mustard leaves to make pesto and infused oils. It has a more subtle flavour than wild garlic and is widely available throughout the year as well as locally grown! This means its fresher, which tastes better and means it travels fewer food miles which is great for the environment and far more sustainable in the long term.
And that concludes our interview but not our foraging adventures! Thank you Jules - we can’t wait to see what new wild recipes you create with your foraged ingredients!