Native launches urban foraging experience

Wild food pioneer, Native is launching an urban foraging experience, hosted at its South London restaurant. Head Chef Ivan Tisdall-Downes will host the series alongside co-founder Imogen Davis, which launches in late July.

Designed to showcase ‘root to plate’ cooking at its best, Imogen and Ivan have created an experience which gives guests a unique insight into the restaurant’s creative process.

Each Forage and Feast event will see guests meet Ivan and Imogen at 10am at a location close to the restaurant to commence a 2-hour foraging tour. Getting up close with elderberries, and down low with hogweed, guests will learn the ins and outs of foraging through the seasons and how important it is to hunt using your senses.

Foragers seldom disclose their locations, and Native’s foraging experience provides a rare insight into the duo’s secret sites as well as their top tips on to what makes for a good scavenger in the city’s green spaces and the importance of not over-picking.

Having earned their lunch and worked up an appetite, the foraging group arrive at Native just after midday to enjoy a 3-course lunch together around the dining table. The kitchen team will see that the day’s takings are cooked, pickled, or even made into vermouth, so that diners can experience and taste some of the local and seasonal produce gathered that morning.

Sample dishes include the Native sausage roll, made using Middle White pork, hogseed, cow parsley, fennel & brown sauce and pea pod ice-cream, white chocolate, vetch & Kentish wood ants.

Davis commented, “Native’s menu is a snap shot of what’s available in the fields, forest and coastlines that day. We try to encourage our team to always keep a look out on their way to work for ingredients, so we thought why not give our diners the chance too!”

Tisdall-Downes added, “Every day we either have a new ingredient to cook with or new a method to transform our off-cuts into daily ‘wasting snacks’. Foraging has always motivated and challenged me as a chef, and understanding the provenance of our ingredients is key to our development and creativity in the kitchen, which we are so delighted to be able to share.”