Ceri aims to put seasonal, nutritious food at the heart of her cooking
The Natural Chef on recipe inspiration, supper clubs and cooking tor retreats
As a freelance chef, my days are never the same. I hold supper clubs, cook for wellbeing retreats, run food-inspired workshops at The Garden Museum in London and update my blog (naturalkitchenadventures.com). Today, for example, I nipped out early to go to Borough Market to pick up ingredients for a supper club I’m running tomorrow night. Then on teaching days, I leave the house „ by 8.30am go to the museum. I’ll have a bowl 31 of porridge before heading out or take some 1 , overnight oats with me to eat when I get there.
The Best Chef in London Photo Gallery
If I have more time for breakfast and have some greens in my fridge, I’ll saute them to have with scrambled eggs, sourdough toast and herbal tea. I usually check emails and catch up with social media in the morning and one day a week I have a session with my personal trainer. ’ ‘Once at the museum, I do a bit of admin, then head into the kitchen, get the ingredients sorted and set up for a class. This week, I worked with a group of blind and partially sighted people cooking autumnal recipes and talking about ingredients. We made a soup, some muffins and a soda bread and ate them after the session. For me, this is a really important part of teaching because getting together over food is a really good way to be inspired by cooking.’
‘I don’t like to waste food, so if I’m at home, lunch will be whatever needs eating up. Last night, I double tested a mushroom recipe for my supper club, so I’ve got lots of mushrooms left over, along with some chard, kale, rainbow carrots and Jerusalem artichokes. What I’ll probably do today is roast the carrots, maybe with some cumin, saute the greens and mushrooms and pile it all together with a can of pulses. My food philosophy is simple – eat food Ceri creates her own recipes when you’re trying to decide what to make, this highlights the ingredients that complement each other. It’s a really inspiring way of looking at cooking as it enables you to be really creative.
‘If I’ve photographed a recipe at lunchtime, I’ll edit the images in the afternoon, writing up the recipe and working on the blog. Or, I might develop some menus for an upcoming retreat. I’ve cooked for 40 Tve promised myself that next year I’ll write a recipe book’ yoga and wellbeing retreats over the past couple of years, and I like to plan as much as possible beforehand. I’ll create a recipe plan, then make a food local produce and being able to shop daily was a really fresh and fun way to cook.’
A REWARDING JOB
‘In the evenings, I like to meet up with friends for dinner or, if I’m at home, make a nice meal from what’s in the fridge. I can be really bad at turning the computer off (and when I do I still look at social media on my phone). I have an app – Natural Kitchen Adventures – which has 75 recipes on it, but I’ve promised myself that next year I’ll finally get down to starting the recipe book I’ve wanted to write for the past four years!
‘I love working with people. It feels really good to be nourishing others when they’re on a retreat, and I love it when students tell me they’ve gone home and cooked the recipes we learnt in class – and really enjoyed it. That makes it all worthwhile.’ you enjoy and eat in moderation. My diet is veg-heavy with lots of wholegrains and pulses, and a bit of meat or fish thrown in from time to time. When I did my Natural Chef training at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley, California, one of the course books was The Flavour Bible (Little Brown, £35). It shows you which foods work well together – apple goes with fennel for example – so order. There are about 16-20 people on the retreats, so it’s pretty full on. I recently did an amazing retreat in Portugal. The venue was in the middle of a small town in the Algarve just a five-minute walk from the market. Usually, we have to go to a big French Hypermarket, so having.
CERI’S ADVICE FOR EATING MORE NATURALLY
‘My food philosophy is simple – eat food you enjoy and eat in moderation.’
‘Crowd out your diet with vegetables. A lot of people will only eat two or three portions of veg a day, then fill up with bread and other things, but if you’re eating more portions of veg, you’ll naturally eat fewer unhealthy foods. It’s a really easy way to improve the quality of your diet because, if you base it on vegetables, you’re halfway there.’
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