From the bluebells to campions to sea kale and alexanders, lockdown has given TV chef and forager, Valentine Warner, an opportunity to truly see the change in seasons.
“The arrival of the birds, the relay of the changes of the season has been wonderful,” said Valentine, who has been staying with his sister in Dorset.
“Being able to check out of the hurry and scurry of life; the media and the emails, has given me time to get to know myself better.
“I’ve become absorbed in absolutely nothing and you learn to love yourself again,” said Valentine, a chef, broadcaster, food writer and one of the founders of The Moorland Spirit Company, which produces Hepple Gin (found in Gin Box Edition Two).
Valentine, who is also known for his deep love of nature and expeditions, says that foreign travel has been a big loss.
“I was meant to be going on a trip to the Amazonian Ecuador, but we have all had to change and adapt. I work a lot in Norway and have had to cancel the programme in the Arctic Circle, but what do you do, sit and sulk?”
Instead, he’s taken time to reflect, immerse himself in nature and art.
“I love the natural world, but I have been back to work in an older iteration,” said Valentine, who before working in the hospitality industry trained as a portrait painter at the Byam Shaw School of Art.
Picking up his pencils again, Valentine has been sketching work commissioned by restaurants and has even been offering tattoo ideas on his Instagram.
“We are all waking up to different ideas, different perceptions. I just hope we don’t come out of it and switch all the machines back on again, that would be a mistake.”
Tasty snack? Crab on toast.
Tasty drink? It has to be a Hepple Gin Martini.
Tasty restaurant? That’s a hard one as I eat according to my mood. The food I have been missing most is Japanese. There’s a lot of bad sushi around, but I really miss chirashi sushi [rice in a bowl with scattered toppings] from my local Japanese, Atariya.
Tasty experience? Contramar [raw seafood] by the sea in Mexico City.
Taste of happiness? The smell of tomatoes in a greenhouse. It always reminds me of being a child.