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Spotlight: Chef James Sherwin

31st August 2016

Chef James Sherwin is passionate about food, Shropshire and foraging. All of them are lovingly and skilfully brought together in his Wild Shrophshire Pop Up Restuarants around the county. We are thrilled to be hosting James' Wild Shropshire during the Ludlow Food Festival this year. We interviewed him to find out more about it. 

James in a Space

Name: 

James Sherwin

Occupation:  

Chef

James Sherwin

In three words describe your Pop Up Restaurants: 

Modern, traditional, natural 

Tell us what readers can expect when they come to your Pop Up Restaurant at the Ludlow Food Festival? 

The people that come to the pop up can expect the flavours of our countryside presented in a multi course tasting menu, focussing on what is perfect in that moment.

Where did the idea of Wild Shropshire Pop Ups start?

I've always been interested in foraging and "local" food, so when I moved out into a more rural location it made complete sense to focus on what is available around us. It will be a year-long project looking at a very small area over the course of the seasons.

Wild Shropshire

Who have your influences been in creating and building James in a Space?

I think there are some obvious influences from the chef world in terms of the Ethos of "Wild Shropshire" Magnus Nilson (faviken) Simon Rogan (L'enclume) James in a Space as a brand is ultimately influenced by those around me that inspire me to try and do something different.

Tell us about your collaboration with Paso Primero and how you will be working with them at the Food Festival?

I've been very lucky to use Paos Primero's since the first of the pop ups, I wanted the drinks provided to be Shropshire based as well, I'd tried a few local wines and they weren't right but then met Tom and was immediately wowed!! Listening to the way he spoke about his wine and how he felt about it was amazing, the way he wanted his wine to taste was how I want my food to taste, subtle but complex with layers of flavours. Tom was one of those guys you could listen to talk for hours because there was so much knowledge and passion behind it. 

I'll be designing two courses to match and hopefully compliment his wines, they will then be served with a sample of the wine.

With all that has been achieved in your career so far, what are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of the fact that I've reached a point where I'm happy to do whatever I want with the food, some people will see it as bravery and others as stupidity but there are no boundaries with what I do other than those set by the seasons.

What are you looking forward to most about the Ludlow Food Festival?

I’m most looking forward to cooking and serving some great food and showing people that aren't necessarily from Shropshire, what we can do. Other than that, I'd definitely say sampling all the alcohol at the festival.

Don't miss your opportunity to experience James Sherwin's Wild Shropshire Pop UP Restaurant on Saturday 10th September at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms. BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE: http://www.ludlowassemblyrooms.co.uk/event.php?id=3730 

 

 Wild Shropshire at the Ludlow Food Festival

 

 

Interview by Louise Welsby | Buy-From Shropshire 

 

 

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James Sherwin | Wild Shropshire

5th August 2016

Pop Ups. Local. Fresh. Foraged.

James Sherwin.

 James Sherwin's Wild Shropshire

There are certain buzzwords in cooking at the moment. The word ‘local’ has been around for a long time now and has transcended cooking into all areas of consumerism. ‘Foraging’ has become a trend in cooking now since the rise of New Nordic cuisine, however the pre-professional romantic in me remembers watching Hugh Fearnley Whittingstal before I was even aware of Noma and Rene Redzepi.

So why local and why foraged as concept of my pop ups? The answer is very simple, and again goes back to romanticism. Ultimately I want to be connected. Connected to my food but also, connected to my surroundings. The dairy farms, the Oak and Silver birch trees, the farm tracks lined with Hedge garlic and chamomile. These not only equate to the life experiences of myself and my family, but also act as a counterpoint to the brutal sterility of a professional kitchen where quite often produce will appear with little-to-no story or provenance

 It may not always be evident when eating but every ingredient has a story and a reason why it's on the plates I serve, they all act as a much smaller part of a bigger story, one that can't be told in 1 mouthful, 1 dish or 1 tasting menu but the overarching storyline across "Wild Shropshire" and that storyline should include sustainability, zero waste, modernity while reaching back to traditional foods and ingredients.

Foraging for me again is an incredibly important part of "Wild Shropshire" for three reasons, firstly it connects me to where we are, the Scandinavians talk about "time and place" and that's exactly what I get from foraging, I find seasonality to be a little too broad a concept especially given the British weather, whereas foraging gives you a snapshot of what's perfect in that moment, and that is what will go on the plates! 

James Sherwin's Wild Shropshire

The second reason is due to my love of the unloved ( British sentimentality) scientists often say that we know more about the surface of the earth than we do the bottom of our oceans. Our own native ingredients (what's a native ingredient is however another argument!!) can be seen in the same way, I'd suggest that 99% of the population knows what pineapples from thousands of miles away taste like but only a small percentage will know what pineapple weed tastes like. These are the things i want to explore, you could always call it Shropshire Terroir, take what the French say about the grapes and wine and apply it to OUR food. The majority of people don't know what our native plants and herbs taste like.

The third reason is sustainability, why buy garlic that's been flown in from China when you very probably have hedge garlic growing within a few metres of your house, no waste, zero carbon footprint.

The other aspect to "Wild Shropshire" is the meat I use however this is a massive subject that I'll cover at another time, as is local producers. 

Pop ups, why pop ups? No rules, no limitations!!!

I wanted to do something slightly different to the usual restaurant set up, for me the food is personal and so I want the environment its served in and your experience to also be personal. I want to be able to talk to the guests, answer questions, have some sort of dialogue that goes beyond the usual faceless restaurant experience, it needs to be something more. I almost view it more like going to see a band play, something visceral. 

 In conclusion and hopefully a way of rounding of my incoherent ramblings, the "Wild Shropshire" pop ups for are a reflection of the personal way I view Shropshire and more importantly the small part that I exist in, it is the flavours and terroir of the view I wake up to every morning and the drive I have everyday as I make my way into work. It's a celebration of an often overlooked part of our heritage.

 James Sherwin Wild Wood Foraging

 Don't miss your opportunity to book onto James Sherwin's Wild Shropshire PopUp on Saturday 10th September at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. Places are limited!

 

Louise Welsby

Buy-From Shropshire

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