With Glastonbury fast approaching, we sat down with Jasmine Hemsley to chat about our exciting new restaurant & bar collaboration. Based on her book, East by West, Jasmine has designed some Ayurvedic inspired comfort dishes and an apothecary of healthy drinks to create a glamping feast for our festival guests. Focusing on fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, the menu offers a twist on modern western classics and will work alongside our Yurtel menu to nurture your “Agni” (aka digestive fire) and keep you dancing all night long.
Jasmine gave us the lowdown on what inspires her, what you can expect from her new Yurtel menu camping pop-up, and what she’s most looking forward to at Glastonbury this year..
Tell us how you became interested in Ayurveda?
My first introduction to Ayurveda was through yoga, when the term would come up from time to time, but I didn’t really know what it was until I picked up my first book on this ancient Eastern philosophy. At first it was really difficult to understand, but gradually it began to make more and more sense to me and in time it’s become an intuitive way of living. It was so simple and natural and kind, a holistic health system that treats every person as an individual who changes with age and the seasons and the times of day, rather than just treating the symptoms. Ayurveda is about maintaining balance to prevent disease, whereas in the West we have become used to wearing our bodies out until we get sick and are forced to rest.
How easy was it for you to put the idea into practice?
Incorporating Ayurveda is both the easiest thing in the world, and a constantly challenging process when the society you live in is living in almost opposite dynamics! I integrated it gradually, picking and choosing according to my needs, like eating to protect and boost my digestion rather than counting nutrients and calories, going to bed earlier, practising daily yoga and meditation… The more I integrated it the more I wanted to know — and that learning process continues for me today with every Panchakarma (Ayurvedic retreat) and every Ayurvedic practitioner I speak to as well as in my day to day when I reflect and am aware of the actions I’m taking. Ayurveda is full of beautiful surprises.
Why is Ayurveda having such a moment? Does it fit with the fashion for healthy eating seasonality or sustainability?
As a society, we’ve come a long way since our idea of ultimate “health” was to punish ourselves in the gym and eat “diet” food. People are starting to understand their wellbeing in a more holistic way, and nutrition as a nurturing part of our lives, not a chore. These principles are all at the core of the Ayurvedic philosophy and many of the wellbeing trends we are seeing today are deeply rooted in its wisdom, so it makes sense that this ancient Eastern health system is resonating more with people in the West today who are looking to make complete sense of what wellbeing means. Ayurveda is the mother of natural medicine — after all it’s about understanding yourself as nature, so “trends” like seasonal and sustainable are all part and parcel of a more conscious and tuned in way of living.
What was it like working on a solo project after collaborating with your sister?
Just like Hemsley + Hemsley came about organically, pursuing our own projects felt like a natural next step for us. My interest in wellbeing started way back with Nick, my partner and also co-founder of Hemsley + Hemsley, a long time before we created the brand. Our ongoing interest has led us wider afield which is why we decided to share more of what works for us and what makes us tick with our latest project, East by West. This third cookbook was created around the same kitchen table with Nick, and my best friend Sjäniel always recipe-testing, so nothing feels too different — other than that change is the only constant!
What inspired the menu for Yurtel at Glastonbury?
Yurtel is known for its comfort food, which is exactly the same page I’m on. The best food for me is nostalgic, nurturing and feels good in our bellies. In the fast pace of modern life, it needs to be easy to digest! While the modern attitude has us thinking that raw must be better, ancient philosophies understand that warm, cooked food is better for our digestion and overall well being — it’s not “you are what you eat” but rather “you are what you can digest.” So guests can look forward to hot breakfasts with a twist on pancakes, muffins and bread, and the most delicious scrambled eggs delicately flavoured with mother nature’s medicine cabinet of herbs and spices. Lunch is hearty for anyone who makes it back to the tent, with the popular turmeric and black pepper salmon from East by West and a variety of textured salads — one for each Ayurvedic Dosha depending on your mood. Dinner is reviving and grounding at the same time, with another 3 favourite recipes from the book: coconut, squash, lentil and leek curry with rainbow chard, fresh chutney and pickles and coconut sambal, and zac ‘n’ cheese with basil courgettes. Well cooked and easy to digest, all of this will help us get a good night’s sleep in what hours we have left, ready to go again the next day. If you want to know what these dishes taste like… come along!
How can our guests stay healthy as they party over the Festival weekend?
We tend to expend a lot of energy at festivals, so keeping hydrated and tucking into nurturing, easy-to-digest food is key. Balancing some chill time with the fun will keep your batteries charged and reduce the exhaustion when you get back to your regular life!
Who are you most excited about seeing or doing at Glastonbury?
So many acts! Lauryn Hill — my first gig in Brixton when I was 15, Tom Odell, Vampire Weekend and Years and Years. This is my first ever Glastonbury and one of my best friends has a whole gang of them going for the third time, so Nick and I will be following their crowd and they’ll be showing us the ropes!
You’re a big fan of sustainable fashion. What will be your festival look this year?
Layers of vintage, upcycled and sustainable brands so that I can cope with the erratic British weather!
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
- Hitting a carboot for treasures bright and early on a Sunday, followed by a really good roast and some really nice wine to wind down from all the action!
- Devon cream tea with my mother-in-law, made by my mother-in-law!
- Turning my mobile phone off, enjoying a really good coffee (water decaf for me!) with a warm croissant, a massage, then a really good film on the sofa with my dogs would be my ideal day!
What are your future plans?
There’s lots “cooking” right now, but I can’t announce yet! Currently I’m working a lot in education and consulting as brands are wisening up to what’s needed and where health and wellbeing is headed. Several projects are underway to bring this into a more mainstream arena so keep a look out for more Ayurveda coming your way!
Do you see your future very much as a champion of the Ayurvedic lifestyle?
Yes, it has done so much for me and for so many people I know — and the best bit is that you only have to start with a few things to make an impact on your health and mental wellbeing since you’re working with nature. I am very passionate about helping people to know it’s out there and to take what they can to improve their daily grind.
To find out how to tuck into a glamping feast and visit your own camping pop-up take a look round our website, sign up to our newsletter and be the first on the Glastonbury Yurtel line up for 2020.