Matt Mason, Executive Chef at Winslade Manor in Devon, is a fan of seasonal cooking and looks forward to serving game in the hotel restaurants during the autumn and winter. He shares his thoughts with The Great Game Guide.
“I have always admired the gamekeepers and their commitment to countryside values,” he began. Sadly, long gone are the days when a local shoot would happily swap a few dozen game birds for a bottle of whisky or a meal for 2!
“My favourite game bird would have be a mallard / wild duck. These little birds need extra care and the legs are best cooked as a confit. But, the rich, dark, breast meat is spectacular and well worth the extra effort.
“I have been fortunate to have been on many shoots but have never shot a wild deer. Their majesty never ceases to amaze me and I find their presence inspiring. Venison is always a popular choice on our menus. On our elegant dining menu at the moment is loin of Dartmoor venison with pickled cherries, beetroot, celeriac puree and a rich game jus finished with the tiniest bit of bitter chocolate for richness.
“I’m particular about the type of deer we get in and I like the slightly smaller fallow deer – especially early in the season. As the season progresses we move on larger red deer. One of my favourite things that we do in the kitchen is make a delicious venison ‘cottage’ pie from all the carcass trimmings which we sell in the ‘forge’ and a slow roast slice of haunch sits beautifully on our sharing platter on a Sunday.”
Game is very much on the menu at Winslade Manor and we very much urge you to book in and enjoy Matt’s cooking – We think he’s one of the best chefs in Devon, if not the South West!
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