Chloé Newcomb Hodgetts

Gourmet Gatherings

 

How did you get into food?

I’ve been greedy all of my life, my first word was ‘more’, and I’ve been fortunate to have travelled widely exploring worldwide cuisines ever since. In the past, I have owned restaurants and bars abroad. Now I am settled in Monmouthshire, foraging happily combines my greatest passions: food & drink and nature!

What would you change about the food system?

The distribution of food. For example, in my local area there are wild and community orchard trees dripping with free fruits such as apples, cherries and plums, which are left to fall and rot as nobody gathers them.

What’s your favourite recipe?

I am constantly developing new recipes for my Forage & Feast guests, inspired by the seasons. My favourite recent recipe which served was a local wild rabbit terrine,
which adapted from this recipe to include foraged herbs and spices such as Alexander seed pepper. It was utterly delicious and I now crave it often!

What favourite foods would we find in your kitchen right now?

As it is mushroom season my dehydrator is working overtime, and I have jars full of delicious dried mushrooms such as Porcini, Chanterelles, Hedgehogs, Cauliflower Fungus, Oysters and many more! My larder is also brimming with sprigs of Mugwort, a hedgerow herb which can only be gathered now, when the seeds have fully dried on the plant, to store and use throughout the year. It is my favourite wild herb and offers the most incredible Mediterranean medley of lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme! I don’t buy salad as wild pickings are so bountiful, so my fridge always contains delicious and nutritious foraged leaves from the hedgerows, meadows and salt marshes of the estuary.

Name an organisation or person that has inspired your food journey

I was very fortunate to be taken under the wing of the late great Henry Ashby, once mayor of Chepstow, several years ago. Henry was a living, breathing, walking, talking encyclopaedia of foraging knowledge. He was the most incredible wild food mentor to me and became my foraging fairy-Godfather. If he hadn’t nurtured my passion for wild foods, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today. So I am eternally grateful for the knowledge he shared with me until his untimely passing. He is greatly missed.