At the top of his game

At the top of his game Marta Jacyna talks to Jose Souto, senior lecturer at the Culinary Arts Westminster Kingsway College, a BASC Food Ambassador and demonstrator chef for Taste of Game. As a BASC Food Ambassador, you may have seen Jose Souto in our Shooting and Conservation magazine promoting game meat to the general public. Jose worked as a chef at the House of Commons for over 11 years and is currently a senior chef lecturer in Culinary Arts at the Westminster Kingsway College in London.   What really needs telling though, is Jose’s enthusiasm for shooting and game; his greatest passions are falconry and stalking: “I am lucky to have a varied history of fieldsports. While on holiday in southern Spain, my uncle introduced me to game shooting. This included trips shooting quail, partridge and pigeon at first, with later trips on rabbits. A lot of what we did was rough shooting and flushing game with dogs. Back in the UK, I found it difficult to get into shooting as I had no one around me that was involved in the shooting world, so I chose another path that had captivated me for years – falconry.” Together with his wife Charlotte, they now have a collection of over 50 birds of prey, including his two favourite hunting partners, a Brookie peregrine, Amigo and a female Finnish goshawk, Sophia. Image by Steve Lee “I also started getting into deer stalking about 15 years ago through Mike Collins, a senior deer ranger at Epping Forest. Later, I met Julian Stoyel, who was the head deer park manager and stalker at Holkham Hall and now at Houghton Hall, both fantastic mentors into the deer world. "By the time I came to do my DSC1, some five years later, I had quite a lot of knowledge about deer. Every stalker should complete the DSC1 course; it really is good practice and is a good grounding for all things deer related.”  Jose does quite a lot of game shooting too, often accompanied by a good friend, and world-renowned photographer Steve Lee. They’ve collaborated to produce two of the books mentioned earlier and are currently planning a third book on preparing and cooking rabbit, hares and other game. Jose never planned a career as a chef, although he had a love of cooking and was encouraged by his family. “I remember my first attempt at cooking game. My uncles asked me to prepare a paella with wild rabbit after a day’s shooting. I made a complete hash of it! I didn’t give it enough time to cook, so it was tough and not good at all. Afterwards, my uncles showed me exactly what to do and it was a fantastic dish.” Rabbit also featured in another traditional Spanish recipe, conejo al ajillo (rabbit with garlic), which became his absolute favourite. “It’s such a simple and delicious recipe. I used it in one of the very first Taste of Game leaflets.” Jose decided to go…

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Conejo al ajillo – rabbit with garlic
Spanish recipe, conejo al ajillo (rabbit with garlic)

Conejo al ajillo – rabbit with garlic

Ingredients 2 rabbits (or 1kg diced rabbit)1½ garlic bulb¾ bottle dry white wine2 thyme sprigs500ml chicken stock200ml oil of your choiceChopped flat leaf parsley1kg potatoes1.5l oil (for frying potatoes)Salt and pepper to season   Instructions Joint your rabbits. Break the garlic into cloves and crush them without peeling. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the garlic cloves, fry until golden brown then remove from the pan. Season the rabbit and seal off in the hot oil.Put the garlic back into the pan, add the wine and thyme. Bring this to the boil for two to three minutes. Add the stock to cover the rabbit, allow to boil again, and then turn down to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the rabbit to cook for around 1h 45min.Do not peel the potatoes, just wash, pat dry and cut into chips. Heat the oil to about 140°C and fry the chips until they are cooked but not golden. Remove from the oil and leave to dry.Once the rabbit is cooked and tender, remove it from the pan. Pass the sauce through a sieve and, using the back of a spoon, push the garlic pulp through it. Reduce the sauce over low heat until it thickens slightly.Just before you’re ready to serve, reheat the oil to 180°C and fry the chips again until golden brown.Add the chopped parsley and spoon the sauce over the rabbit then serve with chips. 

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Try a taste of game during Great British Game Week 2014

Try a taste of game during Great British Game Week 2014 Game dishes will be served across the country as part of Great British Game Week which celebrates all that is great about British game and is aimed at introducing people to the taste of game. People will be able to find local suppliers, special offers and events and sample mouth-watering modern takes on traditional game dishes such as venison chorizo, pheasant sausages and game pies at events which will be held around the country. The week will run from 24th – 30th November and will feature a range of events, tastings and special offers. Businesses can get involved by running special introductory offers. Great British Game Week 2014 is being run by BASC’s Taste of Game campaign and the Countryside Alliance’s Game to Eat campaign. It will strengthen networks of local suppliers and link them to new consumers. Michelin starred chef Phil Vickery said: "Great British Game Week is a great idea. What I am doing is modernising the way game meat is cooked, it is incredibly versatile and very quick to cook. You can attach lots of great flavours to it from spice to sweet and fruits.  I urge everyone to try game meat." Simon Boddy of Best Butchers, Great Brickhill, Buckinghamshire, said: "For a butcher game meat is great. Being seasonal it means we can really promote it and increasingly we are making great products from it such as sausages and charcuterie." Annette Cole from Taste of Game said: “Game meat is more popular than it has been for years.  It is delicious. It is low in fat, high in nutrients, inexpensive and extremely versatile.  It can be locally-sourced meaning food miles are minimal. “Game meat is increasingly featuring on restaurant menus, in recipe books and on television, and is far more readily available in mainstream retailers. But we can all encourage people to give game meat a go. “Those who haven’t yet tried game could cook with one of our delicious Taste of Game recipes for their friends and family. Look at our website for recipes and details of events near you.” Jack Knott of the Game-to-Eat campaign said: “The week is a national celebration of these British, delicious and healthy foods and is a chance for us all to try game at the pub or restaurant, or bring it into our own kitchens. “Butchers around the country are only too happy to advise those new to game how to get the best out of these wonderful meats and the Game-to-Eat and Taste of Game websites are bursting with recipes for you to try.” For more information and recipes and to get involved, visit or You can find a list of events here. Businesses can download the Great British Game Week logo and promotional poster from here.   ENDS Pictured is Phil Vickery and Annette Cole.    

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