This week we are featuring Ceri Jones, a natural chef and founder of Natural Kitchen Adventures and The Seasonal Suppers supper clubs. Ceri also works as a yoga retreat chef, food writer and tutor and leads on the family and community focused food programming at The Garden Museum in London. Through Natural Kitchen Adventures Ceri shares her tips and tricks for eating vibrant, seasonal food with everything from healthy mid-week suppers to innovative dishes which utilise root to stalk eating. You can find Ceri’s recipes on her blog or on the Natural Kitchen Adventures app available on iOS.
I have a varied work life as a natural chef – either cooking for other people or teaching people how to cook. I develop many of my own recipes for my work (which I regularly share on my website and also on my app), and will generally start with a vegetable or fruit I want to work with (usually seasonal) and go from there. I find making vegetables the star of the show and really celebrating their flavour and versatility is a really simple way of getting people to eat more of them. Whether they end up eating them alongside animal protein or follow a vegetarian diet, the simple message is more veg is good. I didn't have a veg heavy diet as a child or even young adult, it's definitely an appreciation that has grown over time, and maybe why I feel so passionate about making up for lost time now. Vegetables are also beautiful to look at and very photogenic which comes in useful when you're photographing them for your blog or instagram too!
For me, there are two reasons, it’s about the effect on our own personal health as well as the health of the planet. Firstly veg, fruits, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds provide an amazing and varied source of nutrition, why would we not want to eat more of them? Secondly, we’ve all seen the statistics on plant based vs meat, but to assume everyone will become vegan tomorrow is unrealistic. I think any small steps we can make to reduce meat consumption are a step in the right direction. I am not exclusively plant based, but these are the steps I have decided I can personally make.
Lemons because they lift the flavour of everything – juice and zest. Olive oil because I can’t cook anything without it. Garlic because most of my dishes include it somewhere.
I love cooking so many different types of food, and am constantly exploring and learning new dishes, so don’t really have a favourite dish to cook. The thing I cook the most often is a tray of roasted veggies, often drizzled in a homemade pesto. The only food I really avoid is food I don’t like, or am not that keen on. I know it sounds crazy but I’m not that into doughnuts, or any hot pudding like sticky toffee or warm chocolate cake. I think it’s the hot sponge, it’s a texture I just can’t do!
I’ve been to Wildflower in Peckham Levels a few times recently and have really enjoyed the food. It’s super seasonal, and with lots of sharing plates there’s a lot to try and get excited by. It’s vegetarian, but with lots of vegan plates too.