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Young chefs at Stafford college serve up five-course game dinner to paying guests

Young chefs at Stafford College served up a five-course dinner for 50 paying guests after being taught about wild game butchery, preparation and cookery.

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The Level 3 catering students put their skills into action after learning about the 'sustainability and health benefits' of game, before using it to create their own dishes which were critiqued.

Earlier this month, the students took over the college kitchen and restaurant to cook a five-course dinner – including game in as many of the dishes as possible – for paying guests.

The event was organised by shooting organisation British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

Pupils learning about game

Matt Dutton, a regional officer for BASC, said: "As part of our ongoing aim to promote game, we have been visiting colleges for several years to engage level 3 catering students. We take deer and birds in the fur and feather to explain the ‘why, what, when and how’ of the process of harvesting these species. This also includes going over the backstory and highlighting the crucial work that goes into managing the habitats where these species thrive.

"One of our proudest achievements so far is our continued work with Stafford College. When we contacted the lecturers at Stafford College five years ago to ask if they would be interested in introducing game to their students, we had no way to envisage our relationship would develop so well."

Tom Harrison, curriculum leader for hospitality and catering at Stafford College, said: "Once again, our students had a great experience with Matt from BASC. Game truly is a prime example of field to fork. Matt has fantastic knowledge of game and for him to come in and share his passion was inspiring for all.

"From the start of the day, the students were thoroughly engaged with the talk and demonstrations and enjoyed the hands-on butchery session.

"Every time Matt comes into the college, I pick up more knowledge about game and we all learn how important it is to use and treat it with the respect it deserves."

Annette Woolcock, head of wild food at BASC, said: "These sessions are of immense value to the colleges and their students as working with game is part of their level 3 syllabus. The value to BASC and to the wider shooting community will hopefully emerge soon when this new generation of chefs will begin using more game and venison in restaurants around the country."

Mark Dutton added: "We could not do this without the brilliant colleges and the catering lecturers who let us use their facilities. We are immensely proud of the students who take on this challenge bravely and without prejudice, opening their minds to new ideas about sourcing food.

"We are always on the lookout for more students eager to learn about game and how to use it in the kitchen."

He added that any schools or colleges that would be interested in hosting one of BASC talks on game, where it comes from, and it's 'versatility for cooking' can get in touch with BASC Central office on 01283 810 910.

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