Five Minutes With…James Wood, Head Forager, Totally Wild

We’re back with our regular series of Q&As with friends, clients and ‘culture vultures’ we truly admire, to share what makes them tick in the colourful cultural landscape.

This time we sat down with Totally Wild Founder and Head Forager, James Wood. 

Having been in love with the wild world since childhood, James spent many years developing his skills and knowledge of all things “wild”. James is now seen as one of the UK’s top foraging and wild food experts. He’s on a mission to share this knowledge and show people that wild food is something we can all forage, prepare and enjoy.

This Autumn, he has partnered with Cultural Communications client, Champagne Devaux to create a collection of six delicious cocktail recipes using foraged ingredients. The recipes can be downloaded here.

One place everyone should visit? Cairngorms in Scotland – it’s beautiful and there are hundreds of paths and trails to explore 

If you weren’t a food forager, you’d be…? A Carpenter – When I work at something I like to see the results of my labour quickly, and when you make something with wood you get that instantly – I still think I may become a carpenter later in life. 

What’s the one thing you never leave home without? A basket – this is an absolute essential when you’re a forager, as you never know what you may come across. 

 If you had to choose one dish or drink to have for the rest of your life, what would it be? Creamy Mushroom Pasta – Autumn is the perfect time of year for foraging mushrooms, and one of our busiest times of the year for us, so this is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the fruits of our labour 

If you relocated for a year, where would you go? Malaysia – the culture, the climate, the people and the food! 

What skill do you wish to master? I would love to hone my skills at woodworking, but Totally Wild takes up most of my time at the moment. 

What was the last film/theatre production/exhibition you saw? I spend so much time outside, I can’t actually remember the last time I sat down to watch something. However, I do remember that the last amazing meal I had was at Restaurante 100 Maneiras in Lisbon, Portugal.

Everyone needs to pay more attention to… Waste – climate change and the depletion of our resources is something you become very aware of when you work with the land and with seasonal produce. We all need to play our part in ensuring that we consume responsibly and help protect the amazing natural world we have been blessed with. 

Name a book you wish you’d written – There’s one I picked up from a charity shop that you read from the front and the back and the two stories entwined. It was one of the best books I have ever read, but, having misplaced it, I can’t remember the name and now I am sure I will never find it again! 

What’s your favourite Oeil de Perdrix X Totally Wild cocktail? The Raspberry Juniper Fizz – it’s delicious and easy to make. The raspberry and juniper bring out the fresh fruit flavours of this rose Champagne

What are you looking forward to this year? Finding massive Porcini Mushrooms this Autumn!