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Ampersand welcome guests to Rum & Sugar to explore the world of Foraged & Found
Last night Ampersand invited guests to explore a world of forgotten culinary delights at our Foraged & Found evening at Rum & Sugar
We have always prided ourselves on our use of fresh, local ingredients and for this year’s client event we decided to push the boundaries one step further and offer our guests delicious dishes made from ingredients we foraged ourselves. Many of these wild ingredients have been long forgotten in mainstream cooking, and their delicious lost flavours unlock a thread running right back to our ancient history.
Guests were greeted with warmed winter Pimm’s with sorrel, warm apple juice with cinnamon, or an English orchard cocktail and welcomed into a woodland wonderland. With its brick walls and wooden panelling, Rum & Sugar was an ideal canvas upon which to bring to life this rural theme.
Using ingredients freshly foraged in Kent, our chef team, led by our Executive Chef Gary Devereaux, created a startling range of dishes, each from one of four natural landscapes: From Land to Sky, Grasslands & Mallow, Rivers & Ponds and Bushes & Trees.
Guests were free to wander the rural and woodland scenery, picking dishes from stalls, crates, and barrows and engaging with the chefs who had created them. Foraged items were available to sample and a forager mingled with guests answering their queries and sharing his expertise.
"It has been an absolute joy to get out and pick some of this food with my own hands. I’m a very lucky man."
Dishes on offer included roe deer with rosehips, beetroot and foraged fool’s watercress, nettle & wild spelt risotto with walnut confit egg yolk, River Lea brown trout with acorn burnt butter, and desserts such as lemon thyme and Hackney honey tart with hawthorn biscuits and Victoria plum tarte Tatin with fallen cobnut clotted cream.
Along with unique flavours to sample, there was wonderful company to enjoy and plenty of fun to be had in our games area, which even included a clay pigeon shoot. The top crack shot shooter David Read from the British Library was awarded with a magnum of champagne, with a bottle for each of our runners up Helena Poland (East Wintergarden) and Beatrice Webber (Royal Museums Greenwich).
Creating a menu based upon foraged ingredients comes with its own rewards and challenges as Gary Devereaux explains: “preparing this is in part a chef’s dream, and in part, a nightmare! We have tested and prepared a delicious range of foraged dishes, but if the foragers can’t find the food on the day, then we can’t cook it that evening. On a more serious note, while also being ethically responsible, using foraged food gives chefs an opportunity to bring new flavours to diners’ plates. It has been an absolute joy to get out and pick some of this food with my own hands. I’m a very lucky man.”
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