Aaron Patterson, Head Chef, Hambleton Hall, Rutland


What inspired you to become a chef?

My father was a chef so I was born into it really: providing cheap labour at the age of ten.

What do you enjoy most about your work?


And least?

Solving laborious staffing issues.

What is your favourite game bird to cook at home?

I always look forward to the grouse season.

What game in particular, benefits from hanging?

I would compare a pheasant that hasn’t been hung for a week to eating an underripe pear.

You are cooking for a dinner party at home – with game as the primary ingredient, what would you serve for starters?

Probably a mushroom dish or something with fish.

What game do you serve regularly in your restaurant?

Pheasant, partridge, mallard, venison and hare.

How would you describe what makes game different?

The flavour of almost all game is very difficult to compare to anything else; this is what makes it unique.

What is the best way of encouraging people to eat more game?

Information: how it’s such flavoursome, organic, and free range meat.

What’s the best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?

The best I would say was when working in London I had grouse at the Connaught Hotel. It cost me two weeks wages but was worth every penny. Worst? I would have to say jugged hare – not a fan.

Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?

Not that I can think of. It’s all fair game.