Meet our Tutors - Jeanne

  • 9 February 2024
  • Sally Lai

Jeanne Kessira 

How did you get into fermenting?
My first job in London had me selling bakery ingredients, and I started teaching myself how to make sourdough bread after coming across it all the time in the artisanal bakeries that were popping up all over town. I got pretty obsessive about it, and it was a natural segway into vegetable fermentation (which is a step easier than sourdough!), which then paved the way for fermented condiments, butter, vinegars, etc. Once you start fermenting you’ll quickly realise how vast of a field it is, and you’ll find yourself trying to ferment everything under the sun.

What’s your fermentation philosophy?
A lot of people come to my classes expecting to get black and white answers, exact time frames and measurements for recipes. But the incredible thing about fermentation is that it’s a LIVE process, super sensitive to its environment, and the trick is to learn to release some control and adapt to what the microorganisms are doing. That’s why I emphasise that the main thing you need to develop as a fermenter is: your fermenter’s intuition! It comes with practice (and a solid grasp of the foundations of fermentation), but to get good at the craft you need to actively engage with your ferments and use all of your senses to be able to read (or intuit) what’s happening.

What is the main reason you are such a champion of fermentation?
I’m a big advocate for self-reliance, and I think fermentation embodies that principle so well. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that you’re nourishing yourself with something you made and cared for over time, something that’s both healthy for you AND delicious, because you’ve made it according to your personal tastes and preferences. I think it’s a really self-empowering craft, plus it’s such a brilliant way to get creative in the kitchen. The flavours that develop from fermentation are unlike any others you’d get from boiling, frying, baking…it’s an all around winner!

What are your fermentation plans for 2024?
This year I’d like to combine my passion for fermentation with my interest in foraging and wildcrafting. I’ve been steadily researching the local plants in my area and working on my plant identification skills, alongside developing my knowledge of plant and herb medicine. Bringing fermentation into the mix feels like the natural evolution of that journey, as a craft itself rooted in care for the ingredients, the body, and the planet. I’ll be detailing my explorations in my monthly newsletter, do sign up to receive fermentation, baking, and wildcrafting recipes & tips, direct to your inbox!

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