Pheasant on the menu during national celebration.
As people throughout the country prepare to raise a glass to Scotland’s patron saint, this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations also represent the culmination of an exciting culinary journey for cookery students at SRUC’s Elmwood campus.
While 30 November is traditionally focused on haggis, the Fife-based students from Scotland’s Rural College have been receiving expert mentoring from renowned chef Geoffrey Smeddle on the preparation of game.
And with their help, Geoffrey – chef at the Michelin-starred Peat Inn near St Andrews – will prepare a special pheasant starter dish to be served at tonight’s St Andrew’s Day Dinner at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews.
As part of the build-up to the St Andrew’s Day celebrations, SRUC recently teamed up with Savour St Andrews – organisers of the dinner – and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to host a ‘Field to Fork’ chefs’ learning journey.
From field to fork
The day began with a trip to Cantyhall Farm Estate, where SRUC gamekeeping staff Jim Goodlad and Paul Swan, together with Donald Muir from BASC, gave professional chefs an overview of game bird rearing, releasing and husbandry.
The chefs were then taken to Elmwood Farm, where they learned about the transportation, storage and hygiene requirements of small game carcasses before taking part in the dressing of a pheasant.
The journey was completed at SRUC’s Elmwood campus in Cupar, where the chefs attended workshops on utilising small game in dishes.
Co-operation makes a big difference
Vicki Munro, Programme Leader, Hospitality, at Elmwood, said: “Working closely with Geoffrey Smeddle has been an amazing experience for our students and we’re all looking forward to enjoying a St Andrew’s Day dinner with a difference. Like our Field to Fork learning journey, the dinner will help to highlight the innovative ways small game can be used, providing valuable knowledge for students and chefs alike.”
Viv Collie, co-ordinator at Savour St Andrews, said: “Activities like the learning journeys would not be possible without this type of co-operation, and they bring benefits to the chefs, students and organisations who take part. We have had excellent feedback.
“Vicki Munro and her team of chef lecturers are always ready to take part in events, devoting a great deal of time and enthusiasm to helping their students prepare for a career in cookery and hospitality, and fostering contacts with the industry.”
Tonight’s St Andrew’s Day Dinner is also supported by Quality Meat Scotland, which is sponsoring the main course of Scotch Lamb.
Find out more about the range of hospitality and cookery courses offered at SRUC on our website.