Granddad can no longer come foraging with me, but as I walk through the fields, woods and moors he loved, I often think about how his past has become my present and future. As I walk on the ancient stone slabs…I can hear the echoes of Granddad’s footsteps and the gems of wisdom he shared with me.
After a lifetime of adventure and tragedy, Alysia Vasey finally returned home to the Yorkshire moors on which she’d grown up. It was here that she rediscovered her love for the wild plants and the unique flavours that they produced. Her exhaustive knowledge of the history and mythology of plants led her to become one of the top professional foragers in the country, supplying everyone from René Redzepi at Noma to Tommy Banks at the Black Swan, voted the best restaurant in the world.
Alysia learnt the secrets of these lost and forgotten plants by walking hand-in-hand with her grandfather across the moors and dales of her Yorkshire home. But it was only upon returning to them as an adult that she learnt the truth of how this knowledge was hard won through starvation and the shadow of fascism on the run from the Nazis. Her grandfather had depended on what he could forage from the natural world and upon reaching safety, he dedicated his life to ensuring that no matter what happened to Alysia, she would always survive.
The Yorkshire Forager is a rich narrative filled with forgotten plant-lore that has been passed through generations of one extraordinary family. It is about how the love they have for each other raised one woman up to supply some of the most impressive restaurants in the world.