Take three ordinary guys, add one milk float (transport) and set them the challenge of getting from Axminster to Land’s End all while living off the land. It might not sound like TV gold but Channel 4’s Hugh’s Three Hungry Boys has made unlikely heroes of its stars, Tim Cresswell, Thom Hunt and Trevor Brinkman. It’s not quite Bear Grylls but with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall backing the show, it watches like a mash-up of Man vs Wild and River Cottage with an added dose of green goodness. And that means plenty of foraging, lots of renewable power and of course, a smorgasbord of unpleasant-sounding eats.
‘You’re continually occupied with where the next meal is coming from,’ says blonde science teacher, Tim. ‘In our society, everything is available all the time but in a situation like this, you just can’t get certain things. Chocolate and coffee become luxuries and you’re forced to eat locally.’ With food and drink trend forecasters, My Secret Kitchen, tipping foraging to be a huge eating trend in 2012, Hugh's Three Hungry Boys, with its focus on al fresco food gathering, has turned up at an opportune moment.
Most of the delicacies on offer are the result of explorations by resident forager and fishing expert, Thom, although Tim, holder of a degree in marine biology, proves pretty handy as well. ‘Our roles look very defined in the show but it [foraging] is something we all do,’ says Tim. ‘We all like spear fishing, so we’re all happy to go and get stuck in. Thom got very interested in digging mushrooms and other things and has great marine knowledge.’
But it’s not just getting to grips with foraging that’s made the show required viewing for greenies. Uniquely, Hugh's Three Hungry Boys gives prime time space to alternative means of transport (renewable energy powered electric vehicles), food gathering (freeganism) and holidays (staycations). ‘It [the programme] shows that everyone can do a bit more and be a bit more aware of where food comes from,’ explains Tim. ‘I genuinely enjoyed everything [food]. Everything becomes more appealing when you’re hungry and cold; even things like heart and gizzard. You do come away with a glossy coat because you’ve been eating all this healthy stuff – crab, rabbit and so on – and cutting down on refined sugar. After getting off coffee, you start feeling mega good.’ That’s a thumbs up to wild food and nose-to-tail eating but what about the boys’ renewable-powered mode of transport?
‘Well, I’d rather not be burning fossil fuels,’ says Tim. ‘Personally I do use it [green power] at home but I couldn’t afford solar panels. It’s a bit limited because you do need money and the Government has changed its mind on feed-in tariffs.’ With fewer solar-panelled charging stations available, how did they avoid Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fossil fuel forfeit for charging their milk float using conventional power? ‘It was madly difficult,’ admits Tim, ‘but Energyshare [an renewable energy collective that helps people get on to green tariffs and generate their own] was key. People who have sustainable energy are keen to help.’
Tim, Thom and Trevor are brand ambassadors for Cushe shoes. See the Three Hungry Boys on Sunday evenings at 7pm on Channel 4
The truth about food additives: how they threaten your health
In an extract from his new book, The Power of Self-Healing, Dr Fabrizio Mancini explains why sugar and food additives - from aspartame to trans fats - could have a severely detrimental effect on your health
In season now: what to eat during January
Love British Food’s Alexia Robinson talks seasonal eats, New Year’s resolutions and a gastronomic alternative to the Olympics
Snack on that! Are insects the future of food?
With seven billion people to feed, agriculture is feeling the strain. So are creepie crawlies the solution? The Ecologist takes a closer look
How to make your own booze
With no food miles, no additives and no duty involved, making your own alcohol saves both money and the planet. Hannah Corr explains how to get started
Ethical food: four new year's resolutions that you can keep
It’s resolution time again so start 2012 on an eco-friendly note by cutting out food miles and eating less meat