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Chefs forage for wild food

Published: May 6, 2016

Cornwall College St Austell leisure

There is a wealth of food in our hedgerows and on the shoreline, but do you know what is safe to eat?

A group of chefs from St Austell Brewery have been learning how to identify safe flora and fauna in an expedition around St Austell Bay.  The group were led by foraging expert and chef lecturer, Mark Devonshire, before returning to the college to prepare and cook a truly wild meal.

Chef Tracy Butler from Old Market House in Brixham said: “I enjoyed the foraging trip greatly; we picked a wide variety of woodland and coastal plants, we also picked up some seaweed. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking with our discoveries and it has very much inspired me to try a bit of foraging when I get back to the restaurant and then incorporating those plants into the menu.”

Chef Gary Osborn from The Central Inn at Newquay added: “I found the day very interesting and never realised the abundance of ingredients in the wild!  I hope to incorporate some of what I’ve learned into my dishes.”

This workshop was one of a number of chef master classes that Mark Devonshire has been working on with teams from St Austell Brewery.  Previous master classes have included teaching specialist skills in preparing, cooking and presenting fish, poultry and game.

Mark concluded: “I have a real passion for foraging and I love to create unique dishes with the wild foods found amongst Cornwall’s woods and famous coastlines; to be able impart this knowledge and work with other chefs like this is a real pleasure for me.  Although any foraging should be done with professional guidance and it is not a good idea to eat any wild edible plant unless you are 150% certain of what it is!”

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