Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Ivan Tisdall-Downes, London and south east heat

Shelly Cameron

Shelly Cameron

Social Media Manager

Ivan Tisdall-Downes is the co-founder and head chef of Native in London

Unlike a lot of chefs - who either start off as a kitchen porter, or those who go through catering college, Ivan is entirely self-taught.

Although he grew up in London, it was as a student at the University of Brighton (where he met his partner and Native co-founder, Imogen Davis) that he discovered hedgerows and cooking with foraged ingredients.


Wild Halibut, Confit Duck Gizzards, Crispy Neck & GEG Nasturtiums #eatnative

A post shared by Ivan Tisdall-Downes (@ivanjd) on


While Ivan's passion for cooking with wild ingredients grew, he found inspiration in TV, cookbooks and YouTube videos, cooking at home as much as he could. From then on, the couple began exploring how to find and cook unique ingredients, selling preserves in the world of street food during their studies.

Before opening Native in 2016, he secured a stage at River Cottage, where he sharpened his knowledge of seasonal cookery and learnt to treat produce as the first priority in his food.

Cooking style

As well as showcasing the UK's wild meats and foraged ingredients, Ivan and Imogen source sustainably farmed ingredients with a low-waste approach to how they manage the kitchen.

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Shelly Cameron

Shelly Cameron

Social Media Manager 25th March 2020

Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Ivan Tisdall-Downes, London and south east heat