Wild game feast

January 28, 2011

Faith Outdoors

This morning, I met a man who may be the best Catholic chef in the Twin Cities. His name is George Serra, who belongs to St. John the Baptist in New Brighton.

Ironically, he is the corporate chef for Augustana Care, which has several facilities in the Twin Cities. I met him in the dining room at Augustana Apartments of Minneapolis. Born in France and raised in Italy and Brazil, the 61-year-old chef has cooked for presidents and the Minnesota Twins. He will be the main chef at a wild game dinner Saturday, Feb. 26 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. Proceeds will go to support spiritual care at Augustana.

Being ecumenical, I certainly support the idea of spiritual care. But, even more, I’m looking forward to tasting what Chef George prepares that night. I was able to get a copy of the menu from him, which is as follows:

Appetizers

— Honey smoked Alaskan salmon

— Teriyaki glazed Florida boar meatballs

— Minnesota venison tips with bourbon sauce

— Spicy snow goose breast wrapped in maple bacon

— Mallard duck liver Paté

— Imported and domestic cheeses

Soup

— Cream of wild canard

Salad

— Seven leaves lettuce topped with Balsamic glazed quail breast

Entrée

— Pheasant stew with wild mushrooms, served with Minnesota wild rice and roasted New Mexico butternut squash

I’m hungry already. So, it seems, are lots of other folks. Serra said the guest list is now at 260 people. This will keep him working in the kitchen for several days beforehand to get the food ready.

This is the sixth year of the event and he said the interest is growing. Ticket prices are $105 per person, $750 for a half table (four people) and $1,500 for a full table (10). To order tickets, call 612-238-52512, or e-mail ksmith@augustanacare.org.

I hope to try every one of the items on the menu. And, the best part of all is Chef George promised to send me the recipes for everything. Can’t wait to try them, although I’m sure they taste much better when he makes them.

Chef George was a delight to talk with. His passion for cooking is evident. Though he doesn’t hunt, he has lots of experience with wild game.

“I lived in Africa for six years, working for Hilton [Hotel] in Kenya,” he said. “We cooked all kinds of wild animals there. It was delicious.”

The full name of the event is the Tucker Wild Game Dinner, named after Augustana president and CEO Tim Tucker, an avid hunter who is supplying some of the game for the event. I hope to meet him at the event. Chef George says that won’t be a problem.

“He walks to every table and talks to every single person who attends,” the chef said. “He’s a great host.”

I asked Chef George if he would ever put on such a dinner at a Catholic church.

His simple answer: “Why not?”

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek