Room made at NZ Chef’s Table for venison

DINZ chef Shannon extolling the virtues of venison for the German audience.

A well-attended event in Germany has piqued the interest of food-writers and chefs for farm-raised New Zealand venison.

Nearly 60 attended the Hamburg ‘New Zealand Chef’s Table’ function on 8 May, a collaboration between DINZ, NZ Trade & Enterprise and NZ Wine aiming to raise awareness of the great combination of NZ wine and venison. Guests included food-writers from consumer and trade publications, wine publications and bloggers as well as some chefs and sommeliers from local restaurants.

“We wanted to show venison beyond the usual cuts to encompass nose-to-tail cooking, which is of great interest in Europe,” explains DINZ venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson.

Simon Ellery showing how the venison leg can be broken down during the carcase demonstration.

The event kicked off with a carcase-boning demonstration showing the potential New Zealand venison has beyond traditional game-style cookery.

“The idea was to show the superb quality of New Zealand farmed deer, in good condition and conformation, illustrating how far wild shot deer is from NZ venison,” she says.

The butchery demonstration was accompanied by commentary from DINZ contract chef Shannon Campbell and master German butcher, Simon Ellery, about New Zealand’s methods of producing top quality, grass-fed venison and its attributes. This was then followed by a tasting opportunity.

“Shannon created a modern menu which included different cuisine styles and some wild card cuts, such as liver and kidneys, to get media and chefs thinking of venison in new ways,” she says.

Campbell prepared the international and challenging tasting menu to showcase the versatility of New Zealand venison. Items included venison tatataki with soy mayo and lime sugar puff, BBQ steak with Thai aromatic salt, banana pudding and pumpkin, alongside kidney rillette with aubergine tahini crème and saffron goats milk pudding and seared liver with cointreau, pak choi and hoi sin sauce.

Campbell’s venison tataki dish ready for the NZ Chef’s Table.

The dishes were perfectly paired with wines by the NZ Wines sommelier, Andrew Connor, who explained why certain varietals were perfect matches for different dishes.

“Press, bloggers and chefs were particularly interested in the natural production methods and our animal welfare credentials,” says Wilson, who adds this is an area which is increasingly getting attention.

The event has had good feedback and there have been many enquiries for Wilson to follow-up.

“We are looking forward to seeing the coverage generated from this event in the following months. If the concept proves successful, it will be something we will look to do again in a new location,” she says.

This article first appeared in Deer Industry News magazine (June/July 2017) and is reproduced here with permission. Check out the magazine for more in-depth deer industry specific news.

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