Margret Hefner

Chef & Natural-Born Forager

Throughout my life, food and heritage have always been at the center. My parents immigrated to a small Canadian City from Europe and for me, growing up in the mid-Seventies, I was acutely aware of how the meals at our family table were vastly different from those of other kids at school. And I was a natural-born forager, nurtured by my Polish dad’s fondness for wild and seasonal ingredients; my creative play included snacking on leaves, flowers and berries whether or not they were commonly considered food. It wasn’t until I was living in Mexico that I realized how this connected me to my own ‘peasant’ heritage.

Jewelry design was my first career, with occasional stints in restaurant kitchens. After 15 years in design, in 2005, I traded the jewelry tools for a chef’s knife and turned my focus to helping people get back to the family table and special diets for health recovery, as Taste Your Freedom Personal Chef Service.

Now, no matter where in the world I go, Mexico has transformed the way I interact with my environment through food.

My move to Mexico, in 2009, inspired even greater shifts and since 2010, I have travelled to many regions in the country, exploring markets, cooking, tasting and learning.

Although I’m an omnivore, plant foods are the foundation of my own diet, and I’ve dug into exploring those freshest ingredients of Mexico’s gastronomy, their place in the daily lives of communities today.

I challenged myself to set my biases and preferences aside, trading the comforts of the familiar for the much more satisfying challenge of foods new to me and seeking to inspire others as a chef and caterer. Now, no matter where in the world I go, Mexico has transformed the way I interact with my environment through food. 

I created and self-published Frutas y Verduras, A Fresh Food Lover’s Guide to Mexico, in 2016 and later launched in-person experiences like tours and cooking classes. Even as an intrepid chef, I know firsthand that everyday eating in a foreign country isn’t simple.

Unfamiliar foods, and differences in language complicate things. Even while knowing that the mercado and interactions with local vendors over local foods is one of the very best ways to immerse ourselves in the culture, it’s a common desire to try to seek out foods and environments that are familiar and in keeping with our habits. We all do it!

Great class in Merida, plant-based hands-on cooking class. a wonderful day of touring the market!

@WBradA

Whether you live in Mexico, hope to someday, or even as a traveller, follow me in a deep dive into its plant foods from the smallest fruits to the bigger picture issues.

This will be an experience you can savor and one that will transform you from an observer to a participant in this country’s fascinating and vibrant culture.

Guiding Principles

Eating for Ourselves

Locally sourced food is fresher and foods that thrive in our local environment are better for our bodies. Eating the unfamiliar and seasonal plants grown nearby also creates the opportunity to savor new-found flavors and textures, delighting our palates and energizing us as we explore, learn and grow.

Eating for our Community 

From growers, vendors, chefs, homecooks, to our own kitchens and mouths, Mexico shows us many times over, that what we eat is much more than just sustenance. In the simple act of choosing local produce we have a positive impact on the local economy and culture, not to mention the individuals and their families that we buy from! 

Learn more about food sovereignty here