CHEWTON GLEN, HAMPSHIRE
What inspired you to become a chef?
I fell into it. I left school and my parents wanted me to go to college or complete some sort of further education. Whilst looking through the different course on offer I was attracted to cooking as it was the only thing I had a real interest in.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
It’s a challenge, the hotel is always busy, and you never have time to stand still. I enjoy the creativity, and having access to the best ingredients you can buy. Finally we have a good team in the kitchen, some big personalities, we have some good banter, and a few practical jokes, making a hard working environment a lot more enjoyable.
The paperwork/admin side of the business. As a creative and hands-on chef, I prefer to be surrounded by food and not paperwork. What is your favourite game bird to cook at home?Mallard or squab pigeon.
What is the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking game at home?
Make sure your work space is tidy; allow enough time; try to do as much as you can in advance.
What game in particular, benefits from hanging?
I think most birds will benefit by hanging for a day or two. Our venison supplier will always hang the saddle for a week to ten days for us, but we might hang it a bit longer when we receive it.
You are cooking for a dinner party at home – with game as the primary ingredient, what would you serve for starters and mains?
Squab pigeon followed by venison.
Is there a particular game dish you serve regularly in your restaurant?
We will always have grouse on the menu in season. Venison also, and we change the accompaniment
annually to follow trends.
What’s the best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?
When I worked for Aaron Patterson he would put a hare wellington on the menu around this time every year, by far the best game dish I have eaten. I don’t really recall a particularly bad one, I love game but some people are more hesitant to try it.
Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?
Heresy on these pages I know, but I have to say I’m not a big fan of pheasant. A lot of the time they’re shot to bits, with the feathers pulled through with the shot. To be honest I don’t find the effort is worth the reward.