Mark Southern, head chef of The Foodstore in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, takes care of the supply chain…
Having just had the opportunity to get out of the kitchen and travel around this amazing country – thanks to Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge – I thought it only fitting to create a dish from wild natural food.
I have chosen to use Raukumara Red, prime venison from red deer that live on the slopes of the Raukumara rainforest of the mighty Waioeka gorge.
It is succulent and tender and has a delicate game flavour as well as being high in protein and low in fat. It’s just a great product.
There are thousands of deer on the ranges and it is important that the population be culled to keep numbers down to ensure a food supply for the remaining animals in those areas and that the natural habitat of the rain forest is not destroyed by overfeeding. Culling is carried out by professional hunters who do a great job by only targeting certain deer (sex, age, area) at certain times of the year to provide a fantastic product.
I had the opportunity to hunt these awesome wild deer with the hunters down on the ranges. Together with three other top city chefs we were thrown in at the deep end. The steep slopes of the gorge and the dense forest meant that it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but finally we struck it lucky. Great fun, but more importantly we saw the bigger picture of how the product gets to our kitchen from the wild. We all now have a lot more respect of food when we source it ourselves.
If you want to try Raukumara Red venison head to Neat Meat in Parnell and the lads will sort you out.