Marcus is an investment director at JM Finn who has been providing investment management services for private clients and trustees over his twenty-year career. Living in Kent near Royal Tunbridge Wells, Marcus and his family are active in a local shoot, also refereeing local junior rugby matches. He believes the key to good refereeing is the same as reliable investment management: regular and straightforward communication.
What is your favourite and least favourite game dish you have ever eaten?
There is a particularly excellent Indian restaurant in Mayfair, whose signature dish is a muntjac biryani, and it is simply delicious. Everyone in our household adores venison.
My children have on a number of occasions pointed out that some of my pheasant breast dishes are a little tough to say the least, so they would arguably prop up the bottom of the list. With a little extra effort it is possible to make some thoroughly child-friendly pheasant dishes, often starting with partially freezing and mincing the meat, as this stops it from turning to mush and allows extra ingredients to be incorporated.
Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?
The dearly missed Clarissa Dickson Wright includes pike in her recipe books, so I feel I can add it to this game list also. Try as I might, I have not found a way to make it taste like anything but a tangle of bones and insipid, muddy flesh.
What distinguishes a great pub or hotel when it comes to sporting weekends?
When you ask if dogs are allowed to stay and there follows a 10 minute conversation about the types of dogs you have and how the host cannot wait to see them. You know then that you are onto a good thing. It immediately shows it will be a relaxed, welcoming and understanding establishment where you will be spending quality time at. It is also likely that the antics of the overly exuberant Hungarian Vizsla will be smiled upon rather than frowned at.
Tell us about your most memorable day’s shooting.
Memorable days are determined by the group you are with.
I have been lucky enough to have some fantastic sporting days with groups of friends, which will stay with me forever. The one that will go down as the most memorable would be at a dear friend’s family shoot, where no more than 60 birds were shot by 8 guns. The day started with another chum’s cocker spaniel running into the first game crop of the day rather than follow him to his peg. The hoots of laughter and derision carried on throughout the day, and he still gets ribbed about it each year. Only at a friend’s house could such behaviour be tolerated!
How do you ensure as much of the bag as possible enters the food chain in shoots that you are involved in?
Our shoot begins at the bottom of our drive and incorporates the rural parts of our village. We are very ‘Do It Yourself ’ and of our 6 drives, one stands for three and beats for three. This requires twice as many guns of course, plus our volunteer pickers up and additional beaters. On the rare occasions that we shoot more than the number individuals can accommodate in their freezers, the excess is dressed and presented to our landowners and those who live within earshot of the drives, as a thank you for putting up with us each Saturday in the season.
You are given a day’s shooting absolutely anywhere in the world. Where would you choose, and what would you eat and drink for lunch and dinner?
I may not be broadminded enough for this question as I find it difficult not to think of somewhere within the British Isles. You simply cannot beat the majesty and rugged beauty of the North of England and the wilds of Scotland.
At least one menu should incorporate the quarry of the day and always accompanied by seasonal produce. A decent bottle of something Burgundian seems to work with most game and the evening inevitably concluded with a nice Speyside malt.
What is the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking and eating game at home?
One’s children. They haven’t developed your fine palate quite yet and are unlikely to do so if you put them off at an early age. There seems to be a gap in the market for Game Recipes for the Parlour; maybe a reader might fill this! //