Henley Food Blog  – Local & Seasonal: Food Heroes, Emma Wildgoose

This is a series of articles on local food heroes, people in and around Henley who contribute much to the local food scene. This week’s focus is on Emma Wildgoose of ‘Eat Real Food’.

On meeting Emma Wildgoose for the first time you can’t help being swept along with her infectious, unapologetic, infatuation for food. Emma has successfully taken this obsession and turned it into a thriving business, or in her case four businesses. Emma is the creator of ‘Eat Real Food’ an amalgamation of her skills as a nutritional adviser, recipe designer and healthy caterer. Her passion for food started when she took on a season as a chalet girl, freely admitting she really had no idea what she was doing, often cooking for 40 people at a time driven only by a love for food, a basic knowledge and her teenage naivety. That passion hasn’t diminished and when she saw the effects that sugar had on her daughter at an early age, she set about finding healthy, delicious alternatives. Not only does she create heavenly sugar and guilt-free treats but she also provides health-oriented catering, cookery lessons and healthy eating programmes.

Which ingredients can’t you live without?

Tinned tomatoes and nut butter! Not together, but both are so adaptable and play a big part in my daily recipe development and healthy eating catering. 

Who are your food heroes?

I love Olivia Wollenborg of Livia’s Kitchen who creates vegan, gluten free and sugar free treats. She was diagnosed with various food allergies when she was younger and rather than miss out on her favourite sweet treats she set about devising healthy alternatives. She is  a constant source of inspiration. I also love Jamie Oliver. I know it’s a bit cliched but he really does have his heart in the right place trying to address issues around obesity. I love the layout of his recipe books as well, really simple and to the point.

What is your guilty food pleasure?

That’s a tough one! I’ve been seeing a nutritionist myself who has banned all grains from my diet. I also don’t eat sugar. It’s important to keep disciplined over what goes into your body so even my guilty pleasures tend to be good for me. I probably have more of my own Superfood Brownies than I should! 

What has been your biggest kitchen disaster? 

That’s an easy one! I ran a kid’s cookery class and we were making a batter for muffins.  I often use a Nutri-Bullet to blitz up my ingredients. It’s made very clear that you shouldn’t add a raising agent (baking powder/bicarb etc) to a Nutri-Bullet! I did! The top blew off and covered me and the kitchen in batter! The kids thought it was hilarious!!

Where do you like to eat?

I’m a big fan of the Golden Ball (Luscombes) in Middle Assendon, and also the Field Kitchen in Nettlebed. It’s important to me that when I go out I am going to get food that someone has taken care over. There is a shortage in Henley of decent independent ‘bistro-style’ restaurants where you can get good quality, simple food. For a treat it has to be Shaun Dickens at the Boat House.

What do you see as the next big food trend? 

I genuinely feel that, as a nation, we are beginning to get it! The availability of gluten-free and sugar-free products is now really encouraging. However, there is a real lack of confidence in people’s own cooking skills. The next big thing needs to be building people’s confidence about choosing their raw ingredients carefully and knowing what to do with it.

Finally, what’s in your fridge! 

Without looking I know there is always a bountiful supply of my Chia Seed Berry ‘Jam’. My husband and children love it. It takes my husband a few attempts to get his head around any of my new recipes, but then the race is on to see who can get the fridge first!

Emma Wildgoose is a trained nutritional adviser, a mum and chief cook for a family of four. In 2014 she embarked on a Diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management, certified by the Association for Nutrition. She developed her  love of creative cooking with an Advanced Course at the Ashburton Cookery School. Inspired by a strong desire to eat well, without having to sacrifice life’s little luxuries, she started out on a mission to create chocolate that was rich in raw cacao and coconut oil whilst being free from refined sugar, dairy and gluten. She now ships her products across the UK. With her two chief tasters at home, her children, Harry and Lily, all her recipes are given the honest thumbs-up or down.

Don’t forget to keep up with other articles and posts on my blog site My HOT Kitchen