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Curtis Pitts Deer Services Joins Forces with Top Chefs and Taste of Game to Celebrate Great British Game Week!
In the winter months, the availability of seasonal game is a serious opportunity for chefs, restaurants and enthusiastic home cooks.
To highlight its benefits Food Drink Devon spoke to two experts who explained why we should look to game to add some variety to our cooking and also to take advantage of its health benefits.
“Game meat has a lot going for it,” Annette Woolcock, head of Taste of Game, told us. “Basically, you should think of it this way: game is any meat that is hunted. It ranges from game birds such as grouse, pheasant and partridge through to venison, wood pigeon and rabbit.”
Game has the advantage of being a product that has lived wild following rearing - in the case of pheasants, partridges and grouse – and has had the freedom to do so in a completely unrestricted way. This makes it very different from poultry that is farmed and fenced in.
“The real secret to game is the meat,” Annette continued. “It is low in saturated fats and high in protein and nutrients. But there’s more to it than that. Because game birds and animals are wild, they are stronger and have moved around more.
“This develops flavour and muscle strength. The breasts of game birds are leaner and smaller and require a different more thoughtful way of cooking which lends itself to creativity in the kitchen.”
“Game is also sustainable on many levels. Truly wild game, like venison, lives a life that is completely free. Game benefits include the environment they live in. This requires woodland and planted crops that give birds shelter and food. These plots of crops are also very attractive to many species of birds - some which are endangered.
“Venison helps save and create woodland and reduces the negative effects of population on the ecosystem. Let’s not also forget that the shooting industry is worth £2 billion to the UK economy.”
Curtis Pitts (23), Director of Curtis Pitts Deer Services in Devon is a new member of Food Drink Devon. He is a staunch believer in venison, and it makes up the majority of his business. As a third-generation deer manager, he personally harvests all of his venison from managed parkland and wild landscapes.
“Wild venison is an animal that lives in its natural habitat with no human interference,” he told Food Drink Devon.
“It has no reliance on man. The same can be said of wood pigeon and rabbits. Wild venison is a totally sustainable product with no human interference other than harvesting the carcass. The animal lives where it wants to, grazes and eats where it fancies and breeds and populates areas as and when mother nature lets them.
“The other thing to remember is that venison is richer in protein than any other red meat. It’s high in protein. It’s also rich in conjugated linoleic acid which is thought to support a healthy heart. It is full of iron and B vitamins which help the body convert the food into energy and it plays a vital role in brain and nervous system function.”
Curtis is currently working with A Taste of Game and some top chefs to showcase venison in all its finery.
Elly Wentworth has been using Curtis to supply The Angel in Dartmouth (A Food Drink Devon Member) for the last two and a half years. She says that the quality of his venison is impeccable and loves the way that he always delivers in person. Elly is working on a fantastic autumnal recipe that will be showcased in Great British Game Week at the end of the month (23rd-29th November 2020).
Chef Consultant and former Michelin-starred chef, Michael Nizzero has some show-stopping restaurants on his CV. These include the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn at Bray and The Ritz in London. Michael is also supporting A Taste of Game in working with Curtis Pitts to create a stunning dish with venison loin, macadamia and a grain mustard sauce. He says
“Venison is my favourite meat to cook with as autumn is my favourite season and I think, the most inspiring time of the year. I love wild foraged mushrooms and herbs, truffle and the array of rich and colourful vegetables this season brings. Venison for me is always the centerpiece and the way that the animal grazes and forages natural ingredients this time of year make for the perfect plate and flavor profiles in the meat.”
Both Elly and Michael will release their recipes on the Food Drink Devon recipe page later this month. Please follow on Curtis Pitts Deer Services on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for menu inspiration and a celebration of fabulous venison dishes this Great British Game Week!
Charlotte Vincent, Head Chef at The Five Bells, Clyst Hyden, Devon has been buying venison and other game from Curtis for over a year. She says she wouldn’t go anywhere else.
“Provenance is massively important to me and I love the way Curtis documents his stalking on his social channels, so I know exactly where it comes from and can see the humanity and respect with which it is treated throughout the harvesting and preparation process. The meat is absolutely beautiful and very easy to work with. It comes ready loined-down which really helps me out in my busy kitchen. The Five Bells will continue to do take out during Lockdown 2. We’ve also launched a new ‘Five Bells at Home’ service this weekend. Our week three box will be a delicious Venison Wellington dish that our customers can make and enjoy at home and this will be Curtis’ finest locally-sourced venison.”
The recipe for this will be published on our recipe page, along with Michael and Elly’s dishes to celebrate Great British Game Week at the end of the month.
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