Cooking Game with Mark Gilchrist

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Ever since we set up Muddy Matches, we’ve been really interested in meeting other young entrepreneurs, and particularly those that have bucked the trend of moving to a city to find work and are making their living in the countryside.

Mark Gilchrist of Game for Everything is one such entrepreneur, firmly demonstrating that hard work, determination and a number of sacrifices (Sundays for example) are the key ingredients of success. Mark was about nine when he first tried cooking – he made a stir-fry, which apparently went horribly wrong and was pretty disgusting. Fortunately, we can now vouch for the fact that his cooking is far from disgusting; in fact, it’s amazing.

Mark specialises in cooking game and only uses wild meat and seasonal produce to make his signature game pies and cater for events and dinner parties. Self-taught through university, where he studied chemistry; effortlessly (it seems), he manages to chuck together a few ingredients and rustle up something delicious in no time at all. He’s not afraid to experiment either and will confidently add an unusual twist, safe in the knowledge that ‘it just works’. Duck breast salad with a raspberry dressing anyone? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

He set up Game for Everything in 2005, choosing a name that he thought would help him with the ladies (Game for Anything gave the wrong impression he thought!), and now seems to be going from strength to strength, even winning the Institute of Directors Young Entrepreneur for Kent award earlier this year. So when we decided we wanted to learn a bit about preparing and cooking game on our Marathon, who better to call?

We got there early in the morning and Mark taught us the correct away to pluck and draw (remove the innards of) a bird. Once he’d laughed at us for taking so long to pluck our birds, he showed us a fearsome-looking gadget he uses for the job. With rotating metal plates that grasp hold of the feathers, it is basically a huge epilator and means that it takes Mark seconds to pluck a bird rather than minutes.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do as much cooking as we would have liked as we spent the whole morning staging shots for ITV Meridian who had come out to film us for the local evening news. ‘Fake’ introducing ourselves to Mark about five times took half an hour and in the end they were there for about four hours…but it was all worth it in the end! Anyway, after we had all recovered from the whole TV experience, Mark did show us how to make a wonderful pheasant recipe, which we have written for you below.

For more information about Game for Everything, Mark’s pies and how to get him to cater for your event visit his website.

Tarragon Pheasant

(Serves 4 – giving a leg and a breast each)

500g celery (leaves and all), washed

500g carrots, unpeeled

500g onions, chopped and peeled

6 cloves of garlic, chopped and peeled

2 pheasants, quarters

6 large baking potatoes (skins scored around the middle)

1 pint single cream


Fresh tarragon

½ bottle of white wine (33cl)

Goose fat or olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and place then in a baking tin.
  3. Place the pheasant on top and pour over the wine.
  4. Cover with tin foil and cook for an hour until the pheasant is soft. Bake the potatoes in a separate dish at the same time.
  5. When cooked, crisp up the skin of the pheasant in a frying pan in goose fat or olive oil.
  6. Blitz the cooked vegetables in a blender, adding cream, tarragon, salt and black pepper to make a sauce.
  7. Spoon out the insides of the baked potatoes and heat quickly in a frying pan with cream, butter and salt and pepper. This makes the yummiest mashed potato you’ll ever taste.
  8. Dollop a bit of mashed potato on the plate, place the pheasant wing and breast on top and pour some of the sauce around the potato. Season to taste and add a sprig of tarragon on the top to make it look pretty.