Pioneering cookery school showcases the wild food of Cornwall
Fat Hen, the country’s only dedicated Wild Food Cookery School, is set to re-launch in 2014 with an inspiring menu of specialist cookery courses. The programme will showcase the astounding abundance and diversity of wild Cornish produce, as well as offering a venue for unique dining experiences.
Established by former ecological consultant Caroline Davey, Fat Hen pioneered foraging and cookery courses when it was launched more than 5 years ago. Caroline is now expanding her offering to include specialist wild food courses in fish, game, seaweed & wild Italian cookery. There will be a chance for everyone to get involved, including a fun foraging and cooking club for children, kayaking and cycling foraging routes, and gourmet wild food weekends.
In 2013 Fat Hen received partial grant funding for an impressive new cookery school kitchen from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The works are now complete and ready for action in 2014.
“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to develop my Wild Food Foraging and Cookery School”, says Caroline. “Previously we were limited as to what we could offer due to space restrictions. We have now completed the installation of a fabulous kitchen and teaching space in the barn conversion next to our house, thanks to an award of grant funding which recognises the importance of this kind of business to the rural economy.”
Caroline’s courses have been attended by people from all over the world, including from as far away as Australia and Denmark, and her work has generated huge interest nationally. Knowledgeable and passionate about wild food, she has been featured on Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home (Channel 4), BBC Countryfile, BBC Escape to the Country, BBC Inside Out, Today Show (USA) with Ben Fogle & BBC Spotlight. National press articles have seen Caroline appearing in The Telegraph, The Guardian, Time Out, Country Homes and Interiors, Conde Nast Traveller and Shooting Times.
Xanthe Clay, food writer for The Telegraph, recently tweeted “One of the best culinary experiences I ever had was in Cornwall with @FatHenForager”.
The events calendar for 2014 is now online and Caroline is delighted to have two fantastic chefs coming to teach specialist courses at Fat Hen. “Local chef Mark Devonshire, formerly head tutor of Rick Stein’s Seafood Cookery School, will teach on our Gourmet Foraging Weekends” explained Caroline enthusiastically. “In addition Devon-based chef Tim Maddams, formerly of the River Cottage, will be coming to lead our exciting Fish and Game Weekends.”
“Anything you can forage, hunt or fish from Cornwall will be showcased here”, says Caroline. “The courses are aimed at re-connecting people to the land and reducing the journey from soil to plate, as well as offering a really special taste experience. Fat Hen is all about enjoying fresh flavours and making the most of the seasonal wild harvest. I love good food and try to make sure the dishes wouldn’t be out of place in your favourite restaurant. It’s an expansion of the senses eating at Fat Hen, not a survivalist endurance test!”
A major part of Fat Hen’s ethos is sustainability and Caroline is continually looking at ways of reducing the carbon footprint of her business. “We have solar panels for our electricity and are about to install a solar thermal system for our hot water. We grow our own herbs and fruit, are always exploiting our edible hedges and borders.”
Caroline has also developed a green travel plan as part of her sustainable business strategy, and can meet guests at Penzance train station and shuttle them back to the cookery school, which is just a ten minute drive. Group accommodation will shortly be available to complement the courses.
Fat Hen is now taking bookings for 2014, with an extensive calendar of events is online.
For further information please contact Caroline Davey:
Fat Hen, Gwenmenhir, Boscawen-noon Farm, St Buryan, Penzance, Cornwall. TR19 6EH