Friday 4 June 2010

Hunter Gathering with Mrs.tee.

I have just returned from my trip to the New Forest, I spent a few days in the company of Mrs. Tee, she is a legend in the food industry, anything there is to know about mushrooms, she already knows it. She has been selling wild mushrooms to Le Gavroche for 36 years! he customers now include Nobu, Aubergine, Fortnum and Mason, The Dorchester, and the list goes on and on.
I have never met anyone so dedicated to anything in my life, sure, alot of people are really passionate in my industry, we work long hours, and make alot of commitments for our art, but Mrs. Tee is 68, she walks through the new forest each day, searching for wild mushrooms, wild garlic or anything else that a top London restaurant would put on their menu, then she drives home, calls each one of her customers, letting them know what she has foraged, then cleans, costs and packs her mushrooms onto a her van, where her driver will deliver the goods in the early hours of the following morning! She does this each day, and constantly with a smile on her face! she kind of feels a strange connection with them, when we were in the forest it was almost like she knew where the mushrooms would be, ''this way, come on now, no no, not over there, you wouldn't find anything over there''!
Mrs. Tee also stands out for another reason, she is the only person in the whole of the UK to have a licence to pick and sell wild mushrooms, of any kind, at any time and of any amount, the general public are only allowed to pick up to 1.5 kg, and only for self consumption, but after 32 court appearances, £100 000 of tax payers money and 31 years, Big Brother finally gave into this persistant German lady,and let her do what she loves, just picking mushrooms!

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