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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

The Urban Forager – what foraging means to me

Watershed Executive Chef Oliver Pratt talks passionately to Knowle West Media Centre about foraging & cooking with wild ingredients. Oliver hosted Wild Thing, the Food Connections Festival event at Knowle West media Centre.

“Although I didn’t know it back then I have been a forager all my life. It all started as a kid, walking in the woods, exploring, asking questions and looking at the vast array of plant life around me. Only being allowed to pick the things my parents said were safe to eat I was learning that food originated from the wild. As I got older so the outdoors became a challenge, often seeing how long we could live out in the woods and whether it was possible to survive off the land alone. The answer to that question was quite simply: No. With our limited knowledge and skills it was in fact exceptionally hard if not possible at all.

25 years on and I have a more holistic approach, picking up facts and information along the way from a range of sources has led me to one conclusion. Foraging is a primeval instinct deeply rooted in all of us, it has gone hand in hand with our evolutionary progression and mental development where we survived as a species by being able to identify and catalog the subtle differences in plants; their shape, texture, taste and smell and that by using and developing all of our senses to define what was edible and what was not. These days there is no need to forage for survival, food is farmed, packaged and even delivered to our door and the ancient art of being a hunter-gatherer is slowly being lost.

Or is it?

I now live in the city but wherever I go I find myself identifying a whole range of plants all fit for eating. Bay trees, rosemary, thyme, wild parsley, valerian, lavender, wild cabbage, mustard, horseradish, rosehip, hawthorn and elder to mention but a few and I realise that although the landscape has changed my ancient instincts have not: I am a modern day hunter-gather; I am an urban forager.

When asked what is it I enjoy about foraging then my answer comes from observing other people whilst on a wild camping trip to the Wye valley. Their fun and joy at immersing themselves in nature, the excitement as they discover a bounty of food that is edible; identifying it, picking it and taking it back to the camp to cook. It goes right back to our basic self, our basic being where we were connected to the land for survival and by doing that, by tapping into all our senses and using them it feels good.

If foraging helps us stay connected to the land, appreciate it more and as a result help preserve it then that is a great thing. ”

 

 

Foraging Chef Oliver Pratt

 

Spring event explores ‘wild food’ heritage

What is ‘wild food’?  Could you find your own?

As part of the Bristol Food Connections festival, Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) held a unique event on Saturday 10th May that investigated, explored and celebrated wild food. We partnered with Source Food Hall & CaféWatershed Café Bar, and local wild food experts to share the know-how of people who have foraged, caught and raised food on the Knowle West estate for generations. The event, titled ‘Wild Thing’, included:

– Preparing and cooking demonstrations – Saturday Kitchen style – using locally sourced ingredients, with local experts in conversation with food professionals

– A panel discussion exploring the legality, ethics and health benefits of sourcing wild food including plants and fungi, rabbits, pigeons and fish

– Tasting and local produce market with a chance to network

– A wild foraging walk with experts

– An exhibition of KWMC’s extensive work on food in the community

– Playful instant feedback mechanisms and real-time documentation

Following a collaboration with Pieminister we offered an exclusive ‘rabbit hop’ pie, created just for the event. Source and Watershed also served dishes inspired by Knowle West’s wild food heritage during the festival. Experimental foodies, chefs, and people who were new to the idea of catching and foraging wild food attended the event. The event was, we hope, a thought provoking and delicious experience for all!

For more information visit the event page or contact Penny.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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