Fiona Richmond speaks to Amanda Farnese-Heath, founder of North Berwick-based Mad March Hare, about her gorgeous wild dining events and creative projects and more.
You have gained an excellent reputation across the country and beyond for your incredible wild dining events and experiences. Tell us your story and what inspired you to create your business
Food has always been a mainstay my life, brought up in an Italian household, everything happened around the kitchen table. A culmination of years in a busy kitchen led to the Mad March Hare pop-ups. The idea was to find redundant kitchens and set up camp for as long as we were allowed.
Mad March Hare was conceived in a pub kitchen. We had no name and no idea how many folk were going to turn up as we did not take bookings. It was the maddest opening evening you could imagine and was completely heaving, myself and the guys in the kitchen just managed to pull it off! Hence the ‘mad’, the rest; in the Chinese horoscope I am a Hare and I was born in March. Mad March Hare was born!
When I started popping up in kitchens with bad lighting, (strip lighting really effects my mood), I loved the idea of what I was doing but it never felt like it was completely me. It took time to realise that somewhere in my Italian makeup, was the joy of being outdoors, in a warm climate sitting at a long table set in an olive grove, enjoying a rustic feast with friends. But I live in Scotland and it’s cold, yet I thought why not? Let’s give it a go.
Your food and drink look stunning, and epitomise top quality local and unique sourcing – can you share more about the produce and suppliers you work with and why that matters?
I am a little obsessed to say the least with finding the most interesting and delicious ingredients and will travel some distance to find such produce. Scotland is abundant right now with small artisan producers, so it’s an absolute joy to find and then showcase some of these amazing producers each time we set out the wild table.
When I travel abroad I will always fill a suitcase with ingredients to use at one of the Wild Dinners, like marcona almonds from Portugal and tuna salami.
As Scotland embarks on its mission to become a global food tourism destination, how do you see your work playing a part in that?
By keeping true to what I’ve always done. Make the magic happen in Scotland’s beautiful wilderness so the memory will stay strong for a long time to come. Create, nourish, surprise, delight. Being a food and lifestyle stylist it’s more than just a dinner in the wild; each and every element is carefully thought through and planned.
What’s been your most memorable event to date and why?
I don’t think I can really chose one, as they are all so different and incredibly special to me, as it takes months to plan each one they all have their extra special bits
What’s in store over the coming months for guests?
I am planning the next 12 months as I type, I’ve just had a small knee operation which has given me time to rest and fill my creative bin, all I can say is I am totally buzzing with new ideas and location here in Scotland and abroad
For further information please visit https://www.themadmarchhare.com/
Follow on twitter: @MadMarchHareNB and Instagram amanda_farnese_heath