Some years ago, writer & journalist Jemma Foster took on a 42ft narrowboat in a poor state of repair and christened it Xanadu after the 'stately-pleasure dome' of Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan.
The interior was redesigned using predominantly salvaged pieces, in keeping with the boat's original creation from recycled cargo containers in the 1980s. The result was a church pew for a work surface, a writing desk as a cutlery draw and cups dangling from ski poles & deer antlers.
An untrained but instinctual cook, Jemma invited people for dinner to sit on folding cinema seats around a converted ironing board. Approaching ingredients as characters and dishes as narratives, Jemma's fascination with storytelling brought mythology & folklore to menus. Mama Xanadu was born: a floating restaurant using food as a medium for telling stories.
A desire to truly know her food source led Jemma from the markets to the farms and then directly into nature. There she embraced our ancestral heritage as foragers for food and medicine and the practice of local and seasonal consumption. This process launched six years of in-depth study into plant and vibrational medicine, foraging, ethnobotany and alchemy.
The company has since evolved into a Wild Alchemy Lab in Hoxton. We are a London-based group of chefs, mixologists, herbalists & foragers with a desire to spread the magic of plant alchemy and take you on a journey into the wild and out to the cosmos. We work with a team of specialists consulting with brands, hosting workshops, creating bespoke event concepts and experimenting with potions for our mobile tonic & elixir bar.
We believe that restoring our vital connection to nature holds the key not only to maintaining sanity and homeostasis in an increasingly chaotic world but to survival on the planet. Through education and exploration, we are empowered to take responsibility for ourselves and to engage in community, looking to a future where systems thinking is applied to the mechanics of society and our relationship to our environment is repaired.
We source many of our wild ingredients ourselves but we support local initiatives and our research has led us to producers that use traditional methods, work with biodynamic principles and understand the need to shift from sustainable to regenerative agriculture.
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