Over the years we've explored and shared adventures in some amazing locations and had the pleasure of meeting some inspiring and equally passionate people along the way!
So we want to introduce you to these passionate people that are a big part of our Adventures and Retreats from our Chefs to our Surf Instructors. Keep an eye on the blog over the next few months as we share more about the inspiring people we collaborate with and their skills and passions that they will be sharing with you on our Wild & Free Adventures.
Introducing Bjorn Moen, who joins us on our Devon Yoga & Foraging Adventure to take you on a fascinating foraging experience around the wild North Devon Coast, minutes from the stunning Eco Farm you'll be staying with us on, in the heart of nature. This retreat will inspire your heart, mind and taste buds!
Meet Bjorn Moen
"As a chef I have always strived to use new ingredients to set my cooking apart from the normal offerings, so began to explore what could be foraged and it’s uses. That is where it began …from then on it became a passion of mine to rediscover a lot of the lost ingredients we no longer use in our modern existence"
The locations we choose are key to our Adventures and Bjorn knows all there is to forage in this area... and he will open your eyes to things you'll also see on your walks back home - where ever you live, even in those concrete jungles and your local parks!
We met Bjorn when looking for a unique location to hold a Yoga Retreat with a difference! We found this stunning location on the wild coast of North Devon, nestled away on an Eco Farm and knew it was the spot as soon as we arrived. The idea at the time was to find a location immersed in nature, where you could really detach from the hustle and bustle, unwind, feel wild & free but with that all important touch of luxury we offer on our retreats. This location is one of a kind, with the most stunning coastal walks and unique accommodation ...staying in geodesic domes with comfortable beds and log burners and views both during the day and night to stay connected and grounded to Mother Nature.
Those that join us on our Adventures and Retreats know that the food, is as important as the surfing and the yoga. So for this retreat we wanted to delve a little deeper into food, explore what Mother Nature has to offer and learn more about how we can forage from the earth. To our delight, shortly after we found the perfect location, we also met Bjorn!
At the time Bjorn owned his own restaurant a short drive from the Eco Farm were we decided to host this Adventure. On arrival Bjorn handed me a spoon and said "try this... it's wasabi ice cream" and my first reaction was "oooo... is this going to be hot?' Ha ha ha! What an introduction and the ice cream... "wow!" a taste sensation and super delicious!
We then chatted about what we were looking to create on this retreat and talked about interesting interactive cooking demonstrations and then came to the idea of foraging! After talking to Bjorn and his passions for sourcing his food locally, the importance of seasonal food, then how he forages a lot of the key ingredients/flavours within his food literally on his doorstep... the idea for this retreat was set!
On our Devon Yoga & foraging Adventure we start and finish each day with Yoga, then on the Saturday after a delicious nutritious breakfast we then venture out into the area foraging with Bjorn. As you take a stroll through the local area, you'll discover whats available to forage, their properties, flavours, health benefits, as well the 'safety' of foraging and what not to pick, eat, etc. Then after adventuring around this stunning location you head back to the venue and Bjorn cooks up a delicious lunch, with vegan and vegetarian options using some of the items foraged and the 'experience' continues from nature to the kitchen, to your taste buds and bellies! Bjorn will talk you through the best ways to cook the herbs and how best to bring out their flavours and what to cook them with. You'll get the opportunity to ask questions in this live and interactive cooking session and enjoy the items you've foraged just hours after you've picked them to really capture the unique and amazing flavours... what an experience!
We asked Bjorn a few questions to find out more about how he got into Foraging and a bit more about him:
When did you first get into cooking and what was the first thing you remember cooking?
"First thing I remember cooking was crayfish on a bbq when I was 8. I began cooking professionally when I was 14"
Bjorn actually learnt his skills on the job and fell into cheffing, by starting in a job working in a kitchen washing up. His passion came from working for a chef called Jamie Dickson, who taught him a lot in various different kitchens and was who he says 'lit his passion' and was his early mentor.
What was your favourite family meal as a kid?
"Vietnamese summer rolls"
Always an interesting question to ask a chef and some of our Chefs have some interesting answers you done't expect.
What's your favourite tool in the kitchen... that you couldn't survive without?
"My tog knives"
Expected that answer and I know that most of our Chefs we work with couldn't be without their knives and whenever I have been privileged enough to use one of their knives, I realise how blunt all my knives are at home are!
Have you ever cooked for someone famous?
"Too many to mention, musicians, politicians, royalty, chefs and celebrities..."
Very professionally answered and no matter how much I prodded Bjorn wouldn't share any names! Sorry.
Who's the best cook in the family?
"I hope it's me"
Thats where you should have said "your wife" Bjorn ha ha ha (yes it is Amanda writing this Blog ;0)
When you're not cooking, what's your next favourite thing?
Of course there was this connection! In fact all of our Chefs surf and we all have similar passions of the outdoors, the ocean and the mindfulness benefits all bring.
You can add surfing to this Devon Foraging & Yoga Adventure if you like on Sunday (in your free time) and there's some great surf spots in the area along this stunning piece of coast. Check out the Beaches and Beauty Spots here on the interactive map: https://www.hartlandpeninsula.co.uk/see-and-do/go-surfing-kite-surfing-and-body-boarding.html
Keep reading for my next question "Where's your favourite Surf spot?"...
So I then asked...
What's your favourite surf spot?
This is in South Africa btw not local! One we have not been to but after chatting to Bjorn about this surf spot and why - we've added to our wish list... what a place to do a Wild & Free Adventure that would be!
So my next question 'of course' was...
Have you ever tried yoga and if so tell us more, what style do you enjoy?
The answer was "No", ha ha ha! So I offered Bjorn to join us for a stretch before the foraging adventure ;0) I love nothing more than introducing yoga to people for the first time and myth busting the idea of 'having to be flexible' etc. Yoga really is for everyone and 'every body'. We often have complete beginners join us and get that 'yoga bug' and then join me online for weekly yoga! A Retreat is a great way to try yoga for the first time.
Back to the questions...
Bjorn is not originally from Devon, although with his knowledge of the area you would think he was born and bred here.
Have you always lived in Devon and around the Hartland area...?
"I moved to Hartland from Bristol/Cotswolds in 2007 when I bought a pub there"
If you didn't live in Devon, where in the world would you live and why?
"I would return to the Ivory Coast where I grew up. Loved the cuisine there and the bustle and chaos of life there"
Do you have a favourite time of year that you love foraging and why?
"Spring because it is a great time of year for interesting and young ingredients"
Thats why we chose May for our Devon Yoga & Foraging Adventure next year, because as the seasons are changing the last couple of May's have been much warmer and a great time to forage.
Lastly I asked Bjorn...
What is it you enjoy most about being a chef?
"The instant gratification I get from from creating plates of food that look great and the reactions from the people enjoying the food, thats why I love cooking live"
...and it sure was yummy the last one!! Joe and I with very happy faces enjoying Bjorns creations on the last Foraging Adventure in October 2020 below.
So if you would like to come join us on this amazing Adventure to remember in this stunning location, meet Bjorn and learn about foraging, then we do have a few spaces left. Due to the demand and popularity of this Yoga & Foraging Adventure, we have released another couple of Pods for Shared or Private Groups of 3-8 people. So check out more about this weekend and get in touch if you are a group looking for a Private Pod just for you and your friends/family... it really is a great one to share with your favourite people. Check out more HERE.
Food really is a key element in everything we do.
From tasting and sharing the amazing cuisine from our adventures around the globe like on our Sri Lanka Surf & Yoga Adventure, to our popular online event 'Yoga & Cooking At Home Retreat' which was born out of Lockdown and now become a regular day retreat we host online. Last weekend we cooked up a Vegan Christmas Feast with all the trimmings!! From Gluten Free and Vegan Pastry to a Beet Wellington, which is a great alternative Christmas Dinner and super yummy. We also made a Kimchi, learnt about fermenting and all the gut health benefits. So if you are interested in joining our next 'Yoga & Cooking At Home' (dates coming soon), let us know, by adding your email to the 'waiting list' HERE and we'll let you know what we will be cooking up in the kitchen next and when, so you can come join in and cook along with some of our amazing Retreat Chefs!
Keep an eye out for more interviews and interesting facts about our amazing Chef's and the other passionate people we work with on our retreats.
A lot of our guests take away great tips for gut health and alternative recipes to support their intolerances as well as the surfing and yoga, the food is just one of the reasons people come back time and time again to our retreats - as you get fed well ;0)
6th - 9th May 2022 - Devon Yoga & Foraging - 3 nights // All meals Yoga (twice daily), accommodation and Foraging experience included. For more information/to book click HERE or get in touch if you have any questions via: firstname.lastname@example.org we'd love to hear from you and tell you more!
Amanda & Joe