Meet Bertie, the fermenting enthusiast behind Hurly Burly

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Ever wanted to eat a rainbow? We’ve met a man who’s putting a whole new world of primary tones on our plates. Having begun his brightly branded food business in 2016, chef Bertie Chamberlain is bringing vibrantly coloured fermented foodstuffs to the people of London. We spotted Bertie’s organic slaws, which go by the name of Hurly Burly, on our local health-food market’s shelves and were immediately intrigued (and hungry). We asked for more, and here’s what he told us …

Where did your passion for fermented food come from?

Having been brought up on a farm and working as a chef for many years, the idea of integrating traditional, time-honoured food processes into busy modern lives was very attractive. My wife is German and obviously sauerkraut is found on the table pretty frequently, to say the least! Having developed a taste for the real-deal traditional German sauerkraut, I began to experiment making the flavours a little more suited to a modern kitchen.

What made you decide to launch Hurly Burly?

The idea came about when I was hosting friends from the UK over in Germany and just the idea of fermented foods was enough to make them turn up their noses! I persisted and served them some of my homemade creations over a summer BBQ. They were hooked, and so I decided that my mission was to spread the fermented food message back home in the UK!

Tell us a little about the benefits of eating fermented foods …

The benefits of eating fermented foods are enormous. Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria, so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system, and enhancing the immune system.

A large proportion of the immune system is housed in the gut. By consuming probiotic-rich foods, you are supporting the mucosa (gut lining) as a natural barrier, making the immune system more robust. A lack of beneficial bacteria allows disease causing microbes to grow causing inflammation in the gut wall. Finally, almost everyone is pleasantly surprised by how delicious they are. After all, eating well should be fun!

What flavour slaws do you create and what has been the crowd favourite so far?

Hurly Burly launched with three flavours. Turmeric & Cumin, Lemon & Ginger and Jalapeño & Oregano. So far the most popular has been the Turmeric & Cumin but my favourite is the Jalapeño …

Can you give us an overview of the process of how your slaws come to life?

The Raw Slaws are manufactured in small batches using only organic ingredients. Depending on the batch, fermentation lasts around 21 days and our products are never heated. This way all the beneficial bacteria are maintained in the jar.

Where are your slaws made, and where can Khoollect readers find your delicious goods?

Our slaws are manufactured by a small family owned producer in rural Germany, surrounded by acres and acres of organic agriculture. Everything possible is done to source the cabbages as close as possible to the site, including from the next field! Currently we are stocked in Planet Organic Stores, Wholefoods and a wide range of independent shops also.

What are your top tips for those wanting to get into fermenting foods at home?

Most importantly, begin by sourcing the freshest organic ingredients you can. This will ensure that the final nutrient levels are as high a possible. A cutting attachment for a food processor can speed up the slicing, different thicknesses will impact the final texture of the product. Personally, I prefer a thicker cut for added crunch. Add different herbs and spices to your taste but be aware that the flavours can increase in strength as nature takes over during the fermentation process. Be sure to maintain a good steady temperature for the fermentation and don’t be afraid to try it as it progresses.

What’s coming up next for Hurly Burly?

We have a new range of flavours coming out later this year. For now we are focussing on introducing as many people as possible to our Raw Slaws.

Have you tried fermenting foods recently? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below …

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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