The next generation of chefs at four Northern Ireland catering colleges cooked up their own game meat-based meals, after spending a day learning about wild game butchery, preparation, and cookery.
During the sessions, students from the Omagh, Dungannon, and Enniskillen campuses of South West College and Southern Regional College, got to learn about the sustainability benefits of game meat before sampling its unique flavours.
The events were organised by the UK’s largest shooting and conservation organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
BASC Northern Ireland country officer Jonny Orr said the main reason for hosting the educational days was to promote the benefits of locally-sourced, healthy and sustainable game meat to trainee chefs soon to enter the hospitality sector.
He said: “Our aim is that these educational days will empower the students to go into the world of hospitality with the knowledge and confidence to prepare and cook game meat. We want the chefs to have enthusiasm for local produce and to tell its unique and powerful story.”
At the end of each day, the students got to create their own dishes using venison and pheasant kindly donated by Baronscourt Estate in County Tyrone.
Matt Gisby, BASC’s wild food officer, said: “This was the first time many of the students had tried game meat and for some of them, it was definitely a game changer. They came up with some really inspirational and innovative ideas and should all be really proud of their efforts. We are proud to have helped the chefs of tomorrow take something special with them into their future.”
Darren Pitts, lecturer in catering and hospitality at South West College, said: “South West College is privileged to have had the opportunity for this invaluable partnership, working with BASC. The exciting workshop enabled our professional cookery and culinary art students to engage and be creative with pheasant and venison.
“The demonstrations and support given by BASC sharpened the students’ butchery and cooking skills for these different types of meats. During the workshop it was amazing to watch how the students combined new skills along with their existing skills to achieve creative and innovative dishes which will ensure they are ready for the industry.”