Guest Chef: Sunday Roast Special
We wanted the return of our Guest Chef events to start off with a bang, so we invited the talented Julian Tailleur back from the Netherlands to put on a show. He is both a professional chef and hunter and is widely known for his field-to-fork approach; a cooking philosophy that we frequently practice here at the farm.
As this was to be a ‘wild food’ focused meal, we scheduled in enough time to go hunting and foraging beforehand. Julian arrived at the farm 4 days before the big event, and we started our food campaign by traveling north to the Pwllheli peninsula. We timed the visit perfectly for the first of the winter woodcock to arrive on the peninsular bogs. Neither Julian nor I had shot a fast moving woodcock or snipe before, made all the more difficult by having to navigate the local boggy terrain.
We knew the shooting here would be tricky, so luckily we were being guided by a local hunter and his 5 dogs who managed to flush a few of our targeted species out of the treacherous bogs. Hitting them however was a whole different kettle of fish, and it took us a good few shots to understand the flight patterns through the new quarry we were facing. After a whole day’s shooting we managed to fill a decent bag of snipe and woodcock ready for the feast.
There is a certain charm that comes with creating a wild menu. There are so many unknowns and endless possibilities that run through your head. Not knowing what you might find is very exciting but also the limitations of time adds a real pressure. We arrived back at the farm on the Friday, with the feast planned for Sunday. At this stage we had managed to bag 2 geese, 5 woodcock and 4 snipe for the feast. We were still a long way from being able to feed 24 hungry guests so we wasted no time and headed out for some more hunting on our farm land. The conditions were in our favour and we had a great day shooting pheasant and pigeon with the shotguns and later that evening we bagged 4 rabbits with the rifle - perfect.
With the game hung up, Julian had all his ingredients and began to plan the menu. Seeing someone with his skill and passion create a menu from scratch is phenomenal. Every detail is scrutinized and every flavour considered. We ended up serving a 5 course feast, incorporating everything we had gathered over the past few days. Some of the menu highlights were woodcock brains eaten direct from the head, confit rabbit & goose leg bitterballen (a Netherlands classic), smoked cabbage with langoustine bisque, pheasant heart black pudding and the hay infused pearl barley (Welsh rice) dessert.
Being the first Guest Chef event we’ve had in the past 18 months, it drove home how important sharing food experiences is for us on the farm. There is nothing better than bringing people together to taste, discuss and discover food in a warm and vibrant setting. We plan to bring in more chefs over the next few months and share more of what we love doing. Check out our website for updates and tickets or send us a message if you want to be kept in the loop with all things food related!