Business Development Manager, Hull Cartridge
Robert started shooting with an air rifle at 11, stalking rabbits and pigeons. He has progressed from there into a passionate field sportsman, enjoying fishing, stalking, game shooting and, due to the nature of his job, some clay shooting too. A keen cook since his early teens, Robert sees the value in promoting game to a wider audience, not just within our industry. It is for all our benefits that game meat is recognised as the healthier and ethical choice in many circumstances.
Best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?
Embarrassingly, the worst was one I cooked. Jugged Hare. I was 17, and the rules of engagement were, if I shot I cooked it. My mother did not like handling dead game. Let’s just say it was an acquired taste!
The best was grouse cooked by Mark Edwards at Nobu. Not only is Mark a fantastic shot and outrageous company, he just makes game so fantastic to eat, especially important for people who wouldn’t perhaps eat game cooked in some of the traditional ways.
Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?
No. I eat everything when in season. Unless I’m on lockdown freezer Thai curry duty.
The best shooting property you’ve stayed in?
Way too difficult, but in no particular order: Bryngwyn: Lady Auriol has been looking after us for over a decade! I don’t know how she puts up with us. Fun times. Stoneley Woods Manor: Luke, Chrissy and Sarah have effortless style and know exactly what it takes to make your stay feel special. Combined with Salvo’s innovative and tasty in-field eats and exceptional dinners in the evening. They should entertain guests outside of the shooting season! Drayton, Northamptonshire: hosted by CLSS, an oasis of ‘Cool’ with Land Rovers and Vance serving partridge freshly grilled on the brazier.
Linhope Lodge: feels ‘off grid’, homely and exceptionally well run. Heather has everything to perfection and Pete’s cooking is insane. Elevenses over braziers, barbecue short rib, ultra cool. Bettws Hall: super professional, everything taken care of. Always lovely hosts. Loyton Lodge: I went as a family guest and it was superb. And finally Bransdale in North Yorkshire.
Your favourite chef that cooks game.
Already mentioned him, Mark Edwards. Who best promotes the eating of game? In different ways, the BGA and Country Food Trust. I was always a massive Clarissa Dickson Wright and Sir Jonny Scott fan. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with Jonny and he really is a sporting great. He also wrote an excellent book ‘Sunday Roast’ that includes carving tips.
Tell us about your most memorable – not necessarily the best – day’s shooting.
I really have too many. My most memorable day in the field will always be the final day of a week’s stalking at Glen Dessary. It was successful but calamitous in so many ways. We all made it home; we were all very wet. It’s too long to tell in a Q&A. You are given a day’s shooting absolutely anywhere in the world, all expenses paid for you and seven guests.
Where would you choose, with whom, and what would you eat and drink for lunch and dinner?
I’ve never been and therefore I’m going bucket list. Spain, partridge shooting, tapas, more partridge shooting, more meat, Rioja, some more Rioja, acoustic music and dancing. Who with? It just wouldn’t be right to name names, but I have an A-team that I would just love to share that moment with. Some are fine shots, some are epic fun, some are both. But for a moment there whilst answering I imagined what it would look like. Oh and just seven others wouldn’t cover it. Shooting blesses you with meeting some exceptionally generous, kind, and like-minded friends.
To what lengths should shoots (and guns) go to ensure as much shot game as possible enters the food chain?
Look after it in the field, present it to the market well and in a palatable way for wider consumption. Be proud and honest of the honourable way it has come into the food chain; the ultimate free range. It has a sporting chance of escape, and subject to who it flies over that chance can easily get better. //