Talking Game with Andrew Cumming, JM Finn

Investment Director at JM Finn

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

The best game I’ve eaten, and I’m not just saying this because it’s my mother-in-law’s recipe, is Normandy pheasant; in fact it’s one of my preferred dishes full stop. The worst tracks back to my colonial upbringing having been born in Australia, and then living in Bangladesh, Tanzania and the Sudan. I have memories of being encouraged to try a range of locally butchered game, the least favourite and certainly one that sticks in the mind, was zebra.

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

No, I‘m happy to try almost anything, as long as it’s been recently shot, appropriately hung and cooked with some pride and passion.

What, different to ‘normal’ accommodation, distinguishes a great game pub or hotel?

I suspect I’m influenced by what appeals to my wife, but I do like a pub that resembles a shooting lodge; open fires, tartan rugs, hot water bottles (that aren’t needed but give you reassurance). Dog friendly accommodation is a must for me, and of course good food, with locally sourced game, and an expansive wine list all make for an enjoyable shooting weekend.

Name the best shooting property you’ve stayed in, and why.

The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe in Lancashire ticks all the above boxes with the added addition of complimentary sloe gin in the rooms. A five hour drive from Suffolk, this old fashioned rural inn is just what you need to get you in the frame of mind for a day in the field.

Tell us about your most memorable – not necessarily the best – day’s shooting.

My most memorable day was my first time shooting grouse. It was with my father, who was a brilliant shot and a stern instructor, at his family’s estate near Dufftown in the Highlands. I think he was modestly proud when I got my first, but of course being of that generation, he wasn’t prepared to show it!

You help run a syndicate. How do you ensure as much of your bag as possible enters the food chain?

I’m involved with a shoot in Suffolk near where I live and we have a firm, albeit informal, commitment to ensuring as much of our game is eaten as possible. We do this by limiting the number of birds to a sensible number so we’re not inundated, offering oven ready birds to all participants and providing the most delicious game sausage rolls, made locally using our game, at elevenses.

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?

Although I’d love to explore some overseas shooting opportunities, being a man of simple pleasures my absolute preference would be shooting at home with some great friends and family, including my three children who have all grown up with shooting as a winter weekend activity. For lunch, I’d serve huge helpings of venison shepherd’s pie with a good warming red from my cellar, followed by blackberry and apple crumble and cheese and biscuits. When the day is over we’d collapse in front of the fire, finish off the red and if there’s any cheese left we’d graze and chat long into the night.

What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking and eating game at home?

To avoid any awkward dental issues for your guests, remove as much shot as possible!