Native guest chefs to create non-native species dishes

Native, London Bridge’s foraged-focused restaurant, is set to launch the ‘Not Native’ guest series on Monday 9 September.

Inviting chefs from across the UK, the series will highlight the UK’s edible non-native species by creating tasting menus formed primarily from undesirable species such as Japanese Knotweed, Grey Squirrel, Signal Crayfish and Wild Native Fal Oysters.

Head Chef and Co-founder Ivan Tisdall-Downes will work closely with a stellar line up of chefs including eco-chef and food waste activist Tom Hunt, award-winning food writer Olia Hercules and Sam Bryant & Alicja Specjalna of Whole Beast, famed for their nose-to-tail dining.

Each will shine a spotlight on the versatility of wild British ingredients through the lens of global cuisines including Korean, Filipino, Ukranian and Polish.

The inaugural event on 9 September will feature Budgie Montoya of Sarap, a Filipino restaurant that aims to reinterpret traditional recipes with a modern, local narrative.

Dishes include Fresh lumpia with foraged herbs and wild mushrooms; Market fish kinilaw and sea buckhorn with pineapple weed vinegar; and ‘Puto’ meringue with purple potato, buttermilk and badger bean halo.

Confirmed dates in the Not Native Guest Series are as follows:
Budgie Montoya of Sarap – 9 September
Sam Bryant & Alicja Specjalna of Whole Beast – 30 September
Olia Hercules – 7 October
Tom Hunt – 25 November

Tisdall-Downes commented, ‘At Native, we believe that we should be using what’s available to us in the fields, forests and coastlines of this country, but that certainly doesn’t mean only using species native to the UK – if it grows here then it’s fair game.

'We want to challenge people’s negative perceptions of these species; whilst you wouldn’t want Japanese Knotweed growing anywhere near your house, it makes an incredible sorbet. I’ve been so impressed with the levels of creativity from the chefs and can’t wait to sample dishes like Korean Fried Squirrel and Venison Bulgogi with Sea Kale kimchi.’