The celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has apologised after mistakenly recommending a potentially fatal weed as part of a healthy living regime.
In an interview in the latest issue of Healthy and Organic Living magazine, the TV cook suggested that the weed, called henbane, would make a tasty addition to salads.
Speaking from Spain, where he is on holiday, Worrall Thompson said he had confused it with the fat hen weed, which has edible leaves that can be used in salads or cooked like spinach. His mistake went unnoticed until after the magazine had gone on sale.
The magazine’s editor, Kate Collyns, sent subscribers an urgent warning saying that henbane “is a very toxic plant and should never be eaten”.
Worrall Thompson said: “I was thinking of a wild plant with a similar name, not this herb. Experts said anyone who had followed his advice and created a salad with henbane should seek medical help and may have their stomach pumped.
Phew! I do a wee bit of experimenting with wild food and drive myself up a tree before cooking with something untried.
The last example was Santolina – found here in New Mexico in decorative borders and in the wild and I don’t know where it originated – but, I searched extensively before I began occasional use as an herb for pork roasts.