Meet the Experts: Adrian Boots

Adrian Boots is the latest addition to the team at Vale House Kitchen, and will be bringing his skills as a wild food expert and landscape ecologist to our extremely popular foraging courses. He replaces our previous expert Chris, whose delicious foraged foodie business Heavenly Hedgerows now demands more of her time – but never fear, it was Adrian who trained Chris in the first place so there couldn’t possibly be a more perfect person for her to pass the baton to.

Country Boy at heart

Like any true country boy, Adrian has fond memories of picking blackberries and crab apples with the family as a child, but it wasn’t until he was writing his thesis, which involved surveying hedgerows and woodlands in Britain, that he noticed the abundance of wild food and his interest in foraging was rekindled. In 2003 he started running foraging groups, combining straightforward plant identification with his knowledge of natural history and landscape ecology to create what he calls a ‘holistic approach’ to foraging. For Adrian, this all stems from a deep love of the English countryside, and a desire not just to benefit from delicious free goodies but also to protect & appreciate that countryside as a whole. He looks askance at chefs jumping on the foraged bandwagon and employing companies to strip out as much wild produce as possible to create a public-pleasing menu, and says he believes that foraging is a basic right of the individual, connecting us to our furthest ancestors, with those individuals also taking on the responsibility to conserve the landscape and its bounty for others.

Having previously worked alone, Adrian’s looking forward to being part of a team at Vale House, and identifies strongly with our goal of preserving traditional countryside and fieldcraft skills. He’s also, needless to say, a massive foodie who loves to cook and never fails to get excited by the fabulous flavours you can find in the wild that just aren’t available off your supermarket shelf. For anyone who’s never foraged before, this is the perfect introduction to a way of reconnecting with the beautiful landscape we are lucky enough to enjoy in this part of the world – but if you’re an experienced forager yourself, don’t worry, because the depth and breadth of Adrian’s knowledge is sure to make this a fascinating course for you too.