It turned out to be first time lucky for Stamford chef Phil Kent who was crowned the 2015 CLA Game Fair’s Game Chef of the Year, held in association with The Field magazine at the weekend, at the first attempt.
The competition was designed to find an unrecognised professional chef who enjoys cooking with game meat and embrace the Great British Countryside through their food.
All finalists were asked to cook a loin of venison, provided by Home Farmed Venison, together with five ingredients of their choice and three mystery ingredients.
Phil, head chef at The William Cecil hotel on the Burghley Estate in Stamford, cooked his venison with sautéed potatoes, blackberry compote and a Madeira reduction.
“I have never felt so nervous,” he commented, adding: “But I was really pleased with the food that I produced and wouldn’t have changed anything on the plate.
“The secret to cooking venison well is to let it rest sufficiently. This is the first time I have ever entered a competition so I am thrilled to have won.”
The judges were leading game chef Mike Robinson and the editor of The Field, Jonathan Young.
Jonathan added: “The Field has been delighted to support, yet again, the Game Chef of the Year. It’s shown just how brilliant nature’s harvest can be on the table when it’s cooked by talented chefs.”
The winning venison dish will be available at The William Cecil from mid-August subject to availability, upon request.
If you’d like to feast on all things game then Phil will be hosting a dedicated game & wine evening on Friday, November 13, from 7:30 pm