Top Devon Chefs attended a Fascinating Forage at Lewtrenchard Manor

Foraging has been popular for some years now, and enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places is only increasing. On Monday 7th July, top Devon chefs attended a fascinating forage led by wild food expert David Harrison.

Glistening with summer rain, Lewtrenchard’s impressive grounds were slightly moist, but that didn’t’ dampen chefs’ spirits as they embarked on a flora and fauna adventure. Harrison is Michelin-starred chef Simon Hulstone’s personal forager and sources wild ingredients exclusively for Simon and his small team of talented chefs at The Elephant, Torquay.

Lewtrenchard, a luxurious Jacobean manor near Okehampton lent itself as the perfect venue for a cheffy wild food hunt! Lewtrenchard’s Head Chef Matthew Peryer showcased his menu in preparing stunning canapés for around forty of his peers from across the county.  The chefs really enjoyed the chance to get a snapshot of fellow cusiniers menus.

The culinary experts went on a tour of Lewtrenchard’s impressive grounds, learning to find and identify the abundance of edible plants, seeds, nuts, flowers and fungi that grow wild in the beautiful Devon countryside. They learnt that provided you are furnished with a permission from the land owner (in this case the Murray family), the only real cost of foraging is time, a valuable resource for chefs. Most foraged produce is perishable and requires picking for service daily or every other day.

Hulstone told chefs: “Once you pick something it immediately starts to lose its peak flavour and texture. So we do not store for that reason; we forage every day,”

Michelin-starred chef, Simon Hulstone, Chef Patron at The Elephant, Torquay then showcased the plethora of delicious ways that David’s foraged ingredients are incorporated into his restaurant menus. It is cookery demonstrations like these at Chefs’ Forum events that make for constant updating of skills and expansion of culinary skill sets.

The event was a great chance for Devon chefs to learn about foraging for their menus and the copious amount of amazing wild ingredients growing all around them.

Catherine Farinha, Chefs’ Forum Founder and event organiser stated:
Lewtrenchard Manor was the perfect venue to hold an unusual and absorbing day of foraging.  It is the third industry event we have held here and we just love it! It is great to see that the chefs are so keen to try new cooking techniques and Chefs’ Forum events provide a great opportunity for them all to meet up to share expertise.

The Chefs’ Forum launched in Devon in 2012 and has gone on to see many young chefs find work placements and apprenticeships in the best professional kitchens in the county.

Masterchef of Great Britain, Peter Gorton is a founder Committee member commented:
“I have seen how the catering industry can bring positive change to people’s lives, helping them to develop a wide range of specialist and general workplace skills. These events keep us talking and help us to keep our finger on the industry pulse.  I am delighted to share knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout my career as are all of the chefs who attend Chefs’ Forum events.