Last year, Chef Brearley of Castegarth Restaurant foraged all the ingredients except for the venison for his spectacular dish at the Gold Medal Plates competition. Designed to resemble the forest floor, his plate had acorns, black walnuts, hawthorn berries, Jerusalem artichokes, wild apples, and wild ginger – all the things that the venison would eat. It was an impressive and delicious dish, and I have never forgotten it.
This spring, Chef Brearley has teamed up with fellow foraging enthusiast Scott Perrie of Morels Ottawa to prepare very special menus based on the gifts of nature. City Bites got the scoop on the exciting world of foraged ingredients from one of the region’s most passionnate practitioners.
City Bites: Have you done foraging dinners in the past?
Matthew Brearley: Yes I have been doing foraging dinners for many years I believe this is the seventh one. In the early years the wild food was more of the accent of the meal and consisted of the usual suspects morels, wild leeks, wild ginger. Last years was the most experimental using ingredients like lichens, wild carrot and yarrow. Before Castlegarth I did a special foraging menu at the 4&20 Blackbird Cafe