Tom Lewis, chef and co-director of Monachyle Mhor Hotel, on foraging for Chanterelles
It’s normally around the second half of June – around Highland Show time – that I first find enough chanterelles for a single omelette for myself. Just some free-range eggs and a little bit of sage and the first mushrooms of the year. But after that we just go out into the glen by the hotel and pick them every day. I make sure everyone in the kitchen makes a habit of going out every afternoon for a bit of fresh air and to get some mushrooms in. It’s even been known for someone to head out in the middle of service to pick a few to see us through – once or twice I’ve jumped on the motorbike at the back door and shot off in my whites down the glen with a basket on the back to collect what we need.
It’s not just chanterelles but hedgehog, parasols, autumn chanterelles and even morelles, though they’re transient and having found them in one site you might never see them again there. Once I was out with my brother-in-law and we collected 70kg in a day – if we’ve got excess we’ll dry them or they’re wonderful pickled. Like most seasonal food they’re best with other food in season – maybe a bit of venison shot near the hotel, and a few garden veg, with some fresh chanterelles chucked on at the end.
● Tom Lewis is chef and co-director of Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Balqhidder, 01877 384622 www.mhor.net