Wild Foraging with Paul Robinson: The Yorkshire Gourmet

Outdoor scene

Paul Robinson also known as Yorkshire Gourmet, is a cook, forager, photographer and hiker, who specialises in creating nourishing, flavourful meals outdoors. Paul worked for more than two decades as a graphic designer but yearned for a vocation that was based outdoors. He decided to take the leap and combine two of his greatest passions - food and the great outdoors.

Today, Paul regularly takes to the outdoors to cook amazing dishes in some stunning locations. He incorporates foraged ingredients found in the landscape he’s in. Sourcing locally also plays a key part in all of Paul’s cooking, utilising seasonal, local and foraged ingredients whenever possible.

We took a trip with Paul through the Peak District to some of his favourite cooking locations, where he showed us how he puts his foraging, cooking and rambling skills to use to inspire people to find their own outdoor cooking adventures.

Cooking outdoors isn’t just about the food. It’s about the journey, the destination, nature, the elements and the space that surrounds you.

With a little prior planning and using a reliable stove, minimal utensils and often just one pan, Paul can create truly spectacular dishes wherever his hillwalking takes him. A good breakfast is an important starting point for any adventure. Paul’s stewed wild apples with yoghurt, granola and honey is just that. Full of slow-release energy and cooked in a single pan you can eat it right out of. This is a quick and easy hot breakfast that will set you up for a day on the hill.

It really is down to the equipment, you need to be able to reheat things really quickly.

As well as quality ingredients, good equipment is essential when putting together full meals on the hillside. Paul has developed a skill for cooking a diverse range of meals using gas stoves during hikes or wild camps, as wood fires are not allowed in National Parks. All from the comfort of his tent's doorstep or at the many cabins and bothies scattered across the UK. After spending all morning on the hill, you can bet you’ve burned through a massive number of calories. What better way to warm yourself up and recharge than with a hot toasted cheese sandwich for lunch? One that’s given an extra kick with foraged bilberries and brambles and fresh-picked thyme leaves.

Finally, after a long day moving, once you’ve reached your destination, you want to have something special to eat while you relax and take in the views. This final dish is just that, Paul’s confit wild duck with slow-cooked lentils and wilted stinging nettles. As well as tasting amazing it’s full of vitamins and antioxidants. This is a perfect end-of-hike meal and just like the other dishes, requires just one pan and one quality stove to be ready to eat in under ten minutes.

Only forage when there's a plentiful supply. Leave some for the wildlife.

In recent years Paul has honed his self-taught culinary and live fire skills as a chef cooking off-grid at ‘Fire & Dine’ serving four courses cooked over wood fires to groups of twelve guests in a wonderful ancient woodland setting at Swillington Organic Farm, Leeds. These events attract guests travelling from as far afield as Singapore, California, Australia and all around the UK to sample this unique experiential outdoor dining experience.

Follow the link to the recipes for Paul's dishes. Paul has gained a large following on Instagram (@yorkshiregourmet) where you can read stories of his hikes and see photos of other great outdoor dishes.

Coming from rural Shropshire, Ethan is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast with hobbies including fell running, painting, the guitar and anything to do with history. He’s been based in central Manchester for the past 6 years but is always seeking out new nearby hiking and camping spots to provide respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

He enjoys nothing more than running through the peaks to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and doesn’t mind what the weather throws his way when he’s doing it.

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