Wild Scoundrels is a project setup by writer and filmmaker Tom Radford and award winning chef Jaimie Haselock (Gamey Jaimie). The original plan was to shoot a series showcasing Jaimie’s Cooking and Tom’s love of the countryside, especially the West Country, including foraging for wild food, fishing, country pursuits and traditions etc.
We were both very disillusioned with the cooking shows we saw on TV and also programs about the countryside. They all seem rather dull and formulaic, it’s not the chefs, it just feels like cooking shows and country shows have got into a bit of a rut. Our initial brief was to make ‘River Cottage Meets Top Gear directed by Guy Ritchie and Edgar Wright’.
Why Top Gear? Well, love it or loathe it, it’s the show that really brought consumer TV into the 21st century by playing with ideas, gaming the narrative and applying bare faced cheek. This resulted in a show that was unpredictable and surprising but also informative and very entertaining. The net result was the conversion of a dull show about cars into a world beating show.
And the directors? Well these guys take dull and hackneyed stereotypical genres and turn them on their head with verve and innovation. The techniques they use could applied to shows about food and about the rural world. It’s time this subject got a chance to show off its true value. This idea that country people live in the past needs to go out the door. It’s a vibrant, funny, wild and characterful machine that is full of stories and entertainment… real life! Not just a chocolate box.
Both of us are huge fans of Keith Floyd and Anthony Bourdain and yearn for the cheek and charisma of their shows. Also Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s original River Cottage series was hugely inspirational. It showed that both country culture and food could be explored in the same show with a proper series-arc, cliff hanging stories and recurring themes. It made the viewer care about the people and the challenge. It also brought us all face to face with the hard decisions and upsetting truths of nose-to-tail smallholding, and massively improved the perception of real food. It threw down the gauntlet and we intend to pick it up and carry some of these ideas into our own show.
As the project developed we realised that there was also a shared passion for local, seasonal ingredients as well as sustainably sourced and produced food. As we began to meet the producers and work with their produce we discovered there were amazing stories and characters to be discovered and this added a new dimension to the project.
Another bugbear is the disconnect between the rural and urban mindsets and how these two groups of people don’t understand each other. From the perspective of country dwellers, it was clear that they have a deep mistrust of the urban mindset and feel persecuted for participating in country pursuits that are seen as cruel and taboo in the popular press. Whilst we don’t want to wade into the various nuances of arguments about hunting, in terms of the Wild Scoundrels Show we understand that most hunted animals lead a better life than intensively reared animals and the meat they produce is better quality and healthier. There seems to be an opportunity here to educate the next generation and try to steer away from the stereotypical image of the ‘posh bloodthirsty toffs and their weird food’. People should eat more game, and wild food generally as it’s variety, delicious and healthy.
A Private chef who’s worked with Raymond Blanc. His celebrity clients include: Eric Clapton, Heidi Klum, Ronnie Wood and the British Royal Family. Jaimie cares deeply about the countryside but also is on a mission to help educate everyone about cooking affordably and bringing wild forage and game into our diets
A film-maker, content creator, food reviewer and all round show off. Raised in the New Forest he has a passion for food, sustainability, The West Country and drinking! Running the podcast, co-presenting the show and generally applying his acerbic wit to anything and everything he’s keen to raise a few eyebrows and put local food and local producers under the spotlight