Chef Profile – Joshua Hunter

Head Chef: Holland & Holland

Joshua Hunter is the Head Chef at The Holland and Holland Shooting Grounds situated in 60 acres of open countryside in Northwood. He is an avid enthusiast of using sustainable and fresh produce, constantly adapting the British menu he has created to ensure all food is seasonal.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My mum was a great cook when I was growing up, we always ate well and I was fairly greedy! This ended up translating into a love of cooking.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Getting to work with amazing produce, and the bonds you form with your team.

And least?

The paperwork!

What is your favourite game bird to cook at home?

I love cooking grouse for a special occasion, there really is nothing better.

What is the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking game at home?

Don’t overcook it. Game can become very tough and dry because it is so lean. Have a good think about what it is you are cooking and do a bit of research.

What game in particular benefits from hanging?

Venison. You can probably get away with eating Muntjac with a short hanging period, but the larger species really need the time to tenderise and mature.

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

I would go for venison tartar for the starter, then grouse served with game chips and crushed celeriac for the main. British plums are also fantastic that time of year and if you pickle them in a little sugar and vinegar they cut through the richness of the grouse.

Is there a particular game dish you serve regularly in your restaurant?

We often have Rabbit and Partridge pie on the menu. Our Game Tikka is one of our best sellers too.

How would you describe what makes game different?

For me it just represents a lovely link between the person eating it and nature. You’re eating something that has lived wild and therefore had a really great life.

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

The supermarkets need to think of ways to make it more accessible to people. I know that the British Game Alliance are championing this cause. It would be great to see game put into quality ready meals so people can become introduced to it gently.

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

Mark Kempson’s grouse at kitchen W8 is always phenomenal. I once had it served blue and cold at another restaurant – I won’t say where!

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

No, I’ll literally eat anything as long as it’s cooked nicely. //