Root Camp makes the connection between farm, food distribution and consumption, and aims to create a generation of thoughtful consumers and cooks for the future.
Cassia Kidron Founder
Root Camp was created out of a feeling of panic when I realised my teenage son had no idea how to cook. And nor did his friends. This was five years ago. I set about teaching groups of teenagers at weekends, which included survival dishes, team suppers and 'bring a friend' banquets. It was great fun, and seemed to do the trick!
As a teenager I cooked for friends, and our long kitchen table was the centre of everything. Food was the magnet that brought all kinds of people together - so much activity and chatter. In whatever I've done since - as a photographer, musician and mother of three, I'm always drawn to the pleasures of everyday activities that connect us - like cooking and eating together.
I spent a year working with Riverford Organic, creating a community of ethical and inspirational cooks. I began to see the wider importance of food - an understanding of ingredients and their origin. I also formed strong relationships with some really creative, independently-minded chefs.
During that time, the idea for a new kind of cookery school was born. Aimed at young adults and teenagers, it would offer them the opportunity to work both in the kitchen and on the farm. It seemed crucial to connect the two experiences in order to make informed decisions about buying, cooking and eating food.
We had our first Root Camp in October 2010, and it was a huge success - we worked hard, learnt a lot, enjoyed being outdoors and cooking feasts. The format of that first Root Camp remains largely unchanged, as has the informality. We have since added courses and venues and watched our community grow.
Sylvain Jamois Founder Cook
I started cooking at the age of six when I was entrusted with vinaigrette-making duties at home in eastern France, where my grandmother owned a traditional bistro. It was she who taught me to really taste and experience food.
We soon moved south where I tasted new flavours and an abundance of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. I was also exposed to merguez, rose petals and the scents and spices of Moroccan cuisine.
I came to England and went to work at Moro - a restaurant in London with roots in Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean. This was a wonderful apprenticeship in an open and nurturing environment where a cook could really develop.
Now I work as a freelance cook for many different people and organisations. My rich and varied experiences give me energy and plenty of inspiration.
I love sharing my cooking knowledge, and it's a pleasure to communicate those experiences. When people understand the value of eating well, and also the need to look after the planet - I believe they will make better choices. It's worth the effort for the joy it brings.
Valentine Warner Cookery Writer//TV Chef
Valentine Warner trained as a portrait painter before putting down the brush to pick up the spoon. He worked in London restaurants for eight years under such chefs as Alastair Little and Rose Cararina before setting up a private catering company, Green Pea. He has presented TV series, including What to Eat Now and Valentine: Coast to Coast. He is the author of cookery books: The Good Table and
Valentine writes a regular column for Countryfile and Delicious magazines and has written for The Times, The Independent, Olive, Waitrose Food Illustrated to name a few.
Valentine believes that a real understanding of ingredients, the producers involved and the natural history of ingredients contributes as much to the plate as the cooking itself. A very keen outdoors man, when not in the kitchen, he will be out with a basket or, more probably, fishing.
Oliver Rowe Cook
I first cooked properly at the age of fourteen when I spent a summer cooking in the kitchen of my cousin's art school in Tuscany. There I worked with spectacular produce and seasoned cooks. It was a summer I will never forget. After university I went back there and consolidated my interest in cooking. On my return to London I worked at Moro under the tutalage of the hugely talented Sam and Sam Clark. I left Moro over three years later. Since then I have worked in umerous restaurants and on many culinary projects - the most significant being a cafe and restaurant that I opened in Kings Cross called 'Konstam and Konstam' at the Prince Albert. One of the key features of the restaurant was that we sourced as much of the produce as we could from in and around London. This was the inspiration for a series on BBC2 called 'The Urban Chef', which followed my quest to find local suppliers for the restaurant. Since then I have been a freelance chef, a writer, a stagier, a head chef and a food conspirator. I am looking forward to working at Root Camp this summer and to pass on a few of the things I have learned about food in the last 17 years.
Jane Baxter Cook
Jane Baxter trained at the Carved Angel under Joyce Molyneux before moving to the River Cafe. After a stint travelling and cooking around the world, in 2005 she set up the acclaimed Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon. She is co-author of the Riverford Farm Cookbook and Recipes for Everyday and Sunday. Currently based in south Devon, her latest book, co-written with Henry Dimbleby, is Leon: Fast Vegetarian.
Anna Colquhoun Cook
Anna Colquhoun is a cooking teacher and food writer. She trained at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco and worked as an intern at Alice Waters' legendary restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
"Here, I fell in love with simple, seasonal cooking and making everything from scratch - sausages, pizza, pasta, preserves, you name it". She has travelled extensively, researching different cuisines from around the world. "Food's place in history, geography, language, culture and society fascinates me; nutritional analysis and calorie-counting aren't my thing."
"I studied anthropology at university. I am now a cook. I like to glorify my new career by thinking of myself as a culinary anthropologist."