The master of Fera at Claridge's and L'Enclume tells us how to keep it super seasonal
Simon Rogan is a chef with more than a clutch of awards.
To start with, there's the pair of Michelin stars awarded for his work at his Cumbrian restaurant L'Enclume, which has also won The Good Food Guide's award for Britain's Best Restaurant two years in a row.
Not to mention the fact he was chosen to launch Fera, the seasonal fine-dining concept at the ever-so-swanky London hotel, Claridge's. You can see why he's a man at the peak of his game.
Luckily, you can now get his Michelin-starred magic right to your doorstep; he's launching a rather fancy version of the Graze snack box worth £233.70. Featuring treats like lobster and horseradish meringue, and salt and vinegar chicken popcorn, there are 100 boxes up for grabs by public ballot.
If you can't get your hands on one of his special snack boxes, then follow these tips from the man himself on how to find the best seasonal produce through foraging:
1. Find your foraging feet
"I love to forage and play with the best of nature's ingredients. Obviously Cumbria, where my restaurant L'Enclume is, has one of the country's best natural larders. The herb sweet cicely is local to the region and one I use a lot. Outside of Cumbria there are also mushrooms in the New Forest, truffles in Wiltshire – and Kent is not known as the garden of England for nothing."
2. Remember: preparation is key
"Before you set out foraging, there are a few things to note. Firstly, do your homework. Don't pick anything without knowing what it is. Be respectful of nature, make sure you’re not killing plants, and check that what you’re doing isn’t going to get in the way of letting them thrive. Also be careful to get the right permissions and don’t trespass."
3. There's so much that's great about winter
"At this time of year, there are lots of great veggies coming into season – cabbage, root veg and kale. All seasons excite me; they all offer something special."
4. Barbecue? It's not just for warm weather
"One technique I wish we would all use more, even in winter, is cooking over fire. It has been human's way for thousands of years, and you can get mini ones for inside the house, which are great."
5. 2016 is going to be a great year for food
"There's some really exciting cooking coming our way in 2016. Two of my chefs who have branched out to do their own thing – Mark Birchall and Kevin Tickle – are each opening their own places in the new year, which makes me really proud. I’m sure they’re going to be really successful. You can also see how many more people are getting into decent snacking – people want the best. That's why I wanted to create this snack box with Graze."
Never, ever eat a wild plant without checking with a local expert. If you are at all unsure about the identification of a berry, do not eat it. Conservation organisations such as the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust recommend only harvesting a little of anything, so that plenty is left for wildlife, reproduction and for others to enjoy. Avoid picking in nature reserves or protected areas where certain laws might apply.
Like this? Then try these:
- Gizzi Erskine: "Can we please stop criminalising entire food groups?"
- John Torode's 5 steps to stress-free entertaining
- My foodie life on Instagram: Claire Ptak
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