John Wright

Foraging and Feasting

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $99

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Foraging expert John Wright, author of three River Cottage Handbooks about foraging, will take you on three, real, forays: along the hedgerow, beside the seashore, and to the fields and woods hunting for mushrooms.

These are, indeed, real forays, with all the hopes, disappointments, limitations of season and joys that we must expect when venturing into the wild for our dinner. They all take place in an autumnal Dorset, but the lessons learned here can be applied to other places and other times.

In John’s trusted and experienced hands, you will learn the basics of identification and understand how to forage successfully, responsibly and safely.

Course outline

  • Bountiful Hedgerows

    The beautiful local Dorset hedgerows, woodlands and fields are full of wild food secrets, easily shared when you know what you are looking for and where to find them. This course is the perfect introduction to edible wild plants and you will learn where to forage and how to successfully identify your finds.

  • The Edible Seashore

    For the forager, the seashore holds limitless culinary potential. In this authoritative, entertaining and rather adventurous course, John Wright takes us on a trip to the seaside. In this lesson John will introduce you to the various species to be harvested, you will learn the practicalities such as conservation and the ethics of foraging; the importance of habitat; how to forage safely on the seashore; landing sizes; seasons; and equipment such as nets and crab pots.

    In the lesson, John collects and describes the seashore species he finds on the day, complete with quite a few gratuitous but fascinating diversions. The species you will discover include some crustaceans (brown shrimp, common prawn and velvet swimming crab), plants (marsh samphire, shrubby seablite, sea purslane, sea rocket, spear-leaved orache); and seaweed (carragheen, dulse, gut weed, laver, sugar kelp, kelp).

  • Wild Mushrooms

    With a passion for fungi spanning 50 years and a handful of books under his belt, John is one of the most experienced of all mushroom guides. During this lesson, in which he explores both pasture and woodland, John will introduce to you the fundamentals of mushroom identification, and explain where to look for various species and pass on numerous mushroom-hunting tips such has how to spot edible grassland species even when they are not yet there and the safest places to search. People are rightly concerned about collecting and eating wild fungi, so, in addition to the edible species he finds on the day, he will describe some of those that are poisonous so you can forage safely.

  • Cooking Wild Food

    Although they are simply ingredients like any other, wild foods sometimes pose difficulties for the uninitiated: What can you possibly do with rosehips or hawthorn berries? How do you cook seaweeds? How can you preserve your wild mushrooms or four gallons of wild apple juice? John provides guidance in all these things and more, and will show you that a splendid meal can be made from the most unlikely of things.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from John Wright

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by John Wright
    • Certificate of completion
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Food & Drink classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet John Wright

John Wright - Food & Drink
John Wright has foraged for food all his life. From cockle-hunting and blackberry picking in the 1960’s, via wild mushrooms and seaweeds many years, to collecting flying ants with a butterfly net today, he has seen and eaten most wild foods.

In 1992 he began sharing his knowledge, leading mushroom forays. This was soon to be followed by hedgerow and seashore forays. He has lead around 1,000 such events over the year.

He has written four books on foraging, one on home-brewing and two on natural history. His most recent book, The Forager’s Calendar, won the Guild of Food Writers award for ‘Food Book of the Year 2020’. John has written numerous magazine articles, most of them on the countryside or countryside pursuits.

He lives in rural West Dorset.

Frequently bought as part of this collection

  • The River Cottage Cooking Diploma

    Master the entire subject and SAVE 26% when you buy this collection

    11 Courses • 9 Expert Tutors

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage HQ has long been a power-house of culinary ideology – a hub bringing together an inspiring and talented team who all share a commitment to seasonal and sustainable eating.

    "At River Cottage, we believe there are few things more important than education. And food! And so our aim is to teach and inspire you to grow, source and cook food in ways that enhance your life, increase your wellbeing and connect you more closely to the natural, sustainable and ethical sources of food.

    I believe that delicious, healthy food has never been more vital in helping us all to stay well during this global pandemic, and making those choices in a sustainable way makes the health of our planet a priority too. This opportunity to learn online in social groups provides a sense of togetherness and mutual support. It's not just a great way to learn, it's a great way to stay connected and foster a sense of shared endeavour in what could otherwise be a very isolating time in our lives."

    – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

    Who is the course for?

    Whether you want a career change, you're already working in the food or hospitality industry, or you are an enthusiastic amateur who'd like to gain a certificate, this course is suitable for all food enthusiasts.

    What you will learn

    Through this collection of 48 cookery lessons, Hugh and the team will demonstrate, teach and guide you through their specialist subjects, setting you assignments and offering feedback along the way.

    Our experts will demonstrate a range of skills including vegetable cookery, fish filleting, and shellfish preparation with a focus on ingredient provenance, sourcing and seasoning. From baking your own bread, sourdough and pastries to making your own pickles and kombucha, this course will delve deep into a wide range of useful kitchen skills. Forage for local delicacies, combine exotic spices with delicious home-grown and local ingredients, cook meat and veg in the wild with fire and go gluten free without compromising on flavour – this collection covers absolutely everything you need to know to be at the top of your cooking game.

    In order to gain the River Cottage Cooking Diploma with a signed certificate from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, you will need to complete all courses within the collection. However feel free also to pick and choose the areas that interest you if you simply want the pleasure of learning from the top chefs at River Cottage.

    Learn more

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