Dining on the wild side

February 28, 2011

Faith Outdoors

Have you ever been invited to a dinner and, at the end of the night, found yourself hoping to get invited back again?

That’s how I felt as I left the Tucker Wild Game Dinner Saturday night at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. The beautiful surroundings I encountered when I walked in told me something wonderful was in the air.

In this case, the cuisine matched the surroundings. I don’t consider myself a restaurant critic, but it didn’t take much expertise to determine that chefs George Serra and Alan Stewart cooked up a winner on this night.

The event was an annual fundraiser for Augustana Care, which provides residential facilities and care for the elderly and others who are ill. Though not a Catholic organization, staff reached out to me and offered this fabulous dining opportunity.

I met Chef George several weeks ago, and he told me what the menu would be. The appetizers sounded good enough — honey-smoked glazed Alaskan salmon, teriyaki-glazed Florida boar meatballs, venison tips with bourbon sauce, spicy snow goose breast wrapped in maple bacon, and mallard duck liver paté.

I was very intrigued by the wild boar and went to it right away. It was delicious, and probably was my favorite appetizer. I wondered how anything could top it, but the main entree of pheasant and wild mushroom stew did so.

This is a recipe I would like to get a hold of, and Chef George promised to send it to me. If I don’t get it soon, I plan on bugging him. I’m not too worried, though. I asked for a chili recipe recently, and he e-mailed one back within a day. It, too, was excellent.

Believe it or not, the first person I met that night was a Catholic. He belongs to a parish in Wisconsin and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. But, I knew I wouldn’t be the only Catholic in attendance because Chef George had told me during our interview a few  weeks ago that he, too, is Catholic.

I got to share a table with a fellow hunter, Mike Marden, owner of Commercial Flooring Services. We got to swap stories about deer hunting — and fishing, too. He’s the camp cook at his deer camp, so he, like me, was fishing for recipes.

Maybe I can cut him a deal — if he takes me on one of his Canadian fly-in fishing trips, I can forward the recipes from Chef George when he sends them to me.

Hey, I’ll even throw in some fish cleaning.

And, to the folks who put on the event every year: Please save a spot for me next year!

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