Rachel Allen: Hunt for Food

Rachel Allen and pheasants

Is game hunting the new target for the foie gras opponents?

Consider the case of Irish chef, Ballymaloe Cookery School‘s Rachel Allen. She is under attack for posting a picture of game birds she had shot on Facebook. They accompany recipes for making game terrine. Here is her response:

This page is an information outlet for food-related topics only and I have always tried to include information relating to the recipes or events featured, both to promote them and contextualize them. The origin or sourcing of food has been a long-held interest and concern of mine and I have gone to great lengths in my current series to trace the provenance of food and respect it. No objection was raised to showing pigs being sourced for chorizo, or sheep for a curry dish, for example.

The Independent reports that she have received serious threats to herself and her family. This is the same kind of threat that has been made against chefs and restaurateurs who serve foie gras in their restaurants.

Rachel is far from the only chef who hunts and enjoys cooking game dinners. In the US, prominent chefs like Daniel Boulud, Robert Wiedmaier, Charlie Palmer and many others are enthusiastic hunters. They cook and eat what they shoot. Rachel’s response is a lesson in how to deal with fanatical animal rights supporters. Balancing responsible local sourcing of food with legal hunting is one way to deal with the encroachment of human population on nature.

Super Chef spoke to Chef Wiedmaier of Brasserie Beck and Marcel’s about the controversy.

Hunting is an ancient practice going on since prehistory. In a way, it preserves animals that do not have predators. If you don’t hunt them, they will be become susceptible to diseases. There are too many white tail deer with no predators except the occasional car. They have to be eaten in order to survive as a species – survival of the fittest.

Watching the armchair folk saying, how can you kill Bambi? Then suddenly Bambi is in the city or in the suburbs eating their rhododendron and flowers. Then they want to have every deer shot. Most people don’t understand, without hunters, there wouldn’t be a Bambi.

It is too early to say whether foie gras foes have moved their sites to game in the US, but that seems to be the case in the UK. With fox hunting banned, the next hurdle is all other hunting.

Robert Wiedmaier

5 comments on “Rachel Allen: Hunt for Food
  1. Dan says:

    What a load of blood junky rubbish! I am neither a vegan nor vegetarian but am disgusted by anyone in this day and age that can go out and shoot our wild life for fun/sport. Her claims that this is necessary management of the countryside are unfounded and crass. She shoots like all shooters because she enjoys killing for fun! She is a blood junky who needs her shooting fix. I live in the country side and Bambi and other wild life visit my garden quiet regularly – I have never needed to prove I’m their master by pulling out a gun and shooting them. Time and Time again we read about licensed gun junkies taking their licensed weapons and shooting their family or community. Guns are for the police and armed forces and it’s time the likes of this lady (I use the word lady loosely) were stopped. I do not condone the threats she has received but I do believe she is an evil barbarian!

  2. michelle says:

    i just cant understand how someone can kill an animal. although i know what goes on in slaughter houses. it just makes me sad.

  3. Helmer William Storsten(Bill) says:

    Culling to maintain healthy population of game and responsable hunting for the larder are acceptable and time honoured traditions in Britain, I do not agree with the wholesale slaughter of game for profit or so called sport and the distinction between the two should be considered before making comments linking the two, most of the objectors will happily sit down to a plate or roast beef on Sundays without a murmer of dissent, chances are these days it will have been slaughtered by the halal method of having its throat slit while a religeous chant is recited without being stunned first, think on that one before shouting about hunting….

  4. Dan says:

    I’m sorry but just because something was acceptable in time gone by and it is part of a small section of society’s tradition it does not make it acceptable in the 21st century – if such were ok we would still be use a ducking-stool to detect witches… On the Halal front there is so much ignorance here… 99% of all halal is stunned before the cut and that includes all that finds its way into our supermarkets and restraints… check your fact before you spout!!!!

  5. Ryan says:

    Hey Dan, I was just wondering – what makes killing an animal for food in a slaughterhouse any more or any less acceptable than killing an animal for food in the countryside with a shotgun.

    Simple logic my friend. A=A. Killing an animal for food is killing an animal for food, regardless of where or how its killed. She’s killing these birds and eating them. The last I checked, eating the flesh of animals for sustenance was an acceptable practice to the vast majority of society.

    And that’s why, for the majority of people, her hunting isn’t an issue. You need to get something straight, Dan. YOU are the small section of society. Not her.

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