One of the reasons why I started the 10 Questions posts was to highlight and showcase some of the foodie heroes that we in Devon have in our midst. I first met Ex-River Cottage Chef Tim Maddams at a Pop-up dining event held by Jonny Does Dinner in a polytunnel at Trill Farm. I found him an affable and approachable chap who was happy talking to a socially awkward food blogger at the end of the table.
He speaks passionately about sustainable cooking and making it accessible to a wider audience. Not only is he a food hero here in Devon and the South West, but on a national level too.
Cutting the mustard under culinary greats such as Fergus Henderson, Alistair Little, Marco Pierre White and Mark Hix, Tim was VIP Head Chef for the Ferrari F1 Team. Returning to the West Country he became Head Chef at River Cottage Axminster. During his tenure at RC, he became a spokesperson for sustainable ethical cooking as well as starting a successful media career.
Tim is a regular on television, a writer, a forager, a chef and educator. Last year he published his first book and can be found writing regularly for notable national publications.
He is a much sought after instructor and educator, sharing his knowledge at Exeter Cookery School, Vale Kitchens and Essential Lifestyle Group to name a few and also a Private Chef. Please make sure you check out Tim’s website for all the details on how to book this fantastic chap.
Thanks to Lauren for organising these 10 Questions!
1. Many people will know you from River Cottage so in a snapshot, what are you up to at the moment? What gets you out if bed in the morning?
Ha! Well, my 4 year old Daughter is the one who tends to het me out of bed, but I get your meaning. I’m working a lot as a private chef for various individuals all over the country, Europe and beyond.
I am also busy writing for various publications such as Devon Life, West Magazine, Rifle Shooter, Sporting Shooter, Shooting Times and a few others. What really gets me going is the writing; I love to share my foodie, hunting and foraging stories tips and ideas with others I am also planning a new book and doing a few guest slots on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch program.
2. You hold pop-up dinners in village halls under your umbrella business Hall and Hearty – have you got any more planned this year?
There are a few in the pipeline, to be honest I am getting a little busy for Hall and Hearty, which is a shame as it is a great idea. Myself and Robin Rea are thinking of selling it, but only to the right person. It takes a certain amount of flair and care to pull off these events.
3. Your book most recent book Game: River Cottage Handbook No.15 was based on game – what would you say is the easiest game meat to cook that people should try at home?
Pigeon. Probably one of the best too.
4. What is your favourite fruit/vegetable in season at the moment, or about to come into season?
Come on! Its mid-summer and ALL the good stuff is on, that is like asking to choose a favourite child!. When you commit to eating seasonally, and really stick to it, each new veg, fruit, meat, fish and Fungi hold a certain exciting mystery and the sense of anticipation is immense. I have been enjoying this years tomatoes a lot though…
5. When we spoke you were up in Lancashire at the Great Eccleston Show, what delights did you cook up for them?
Well, each demo was a 5 course tasting menu,
- Cider and Elderflower fizz – which is a drink, clearly
- Cauliflower Bahjis, garlic yoghurt, anise hyssop.
- Slow cooked mutton, chilli, mustard leaves, fresh coriander seeds, rape seed oil, lemon verbena.
- Slow cooked courgettes, fresh pasta, mature cheddar, wild water mint.
- Pan roasted pigeon, tomatoes, basil, puff ball, garlic.
- Honey and geranium frozen yoghurt, strawberries, crumble.
- I’m sure you’re a busy man with business and family, what do you do to relax?
I cook, I hunt, I gather and I enjoy my family. I find getting outside, involving yourself with nature is a great way to keep the stress of modern life at bay.
7. You’ve had the privilege of working with many great chefs, is there anyone on your wish list or someone you’d love to work with again?
Alistair Little, I’d love to work with him again, or Furgus Henderson
8. You’re known for, amongst other things, educating foodies about foraging and finding food in the wild. What tips would you have for those who want to start foraging and cooking their finds?
Be certain of what you are picking, be prepared to go on a few courses and buy a few books, it is a wonderful thing to do, but some of those plants and fungi are deadly poisonous; its worth bearing that in mind. That said, its easy to stay safe, with things like blackberries, elderflowers, crab apples and nettles. Just start at the beginning and aim to add a couple of new things to your list for every season. Foraging with others that know more than you is a great way to extend your knowledge.
9. Some of our readers might have seen you on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s programme Fish Fight which succeeded in highlighting the fishing industry amongst other achievements . Which sustainable fish would you like to see more widely adopted in restaurants and pubs in the UK?
Crikey, that is a big question. Rather than looking at that end, lets look to the other. Lets get everyone to stop eating Tuna and farmed Salmon, that will make the biggest difference, then we can look at whats left and decide how best to use this resource sustainably – if you think of oceanic fish as a mine of food its simple. If you mine just a little bit every year, there will always be plenty more in the mine, but if you delve too deeply, too greedily into the mine, it will cave in and become barren. Infinite resource or temporary profit, the choice is yours.
10. Finally; what is your home brewed wine of choice? Fancy sending me a bottle?
I dont brew much to be honest, but I do make a rather tasty crab apple vodka…….. I dont think there is any left though!
Photo credit – www.timmaddams.com