MDC offers Field to Fork master chef game cooking classes

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Wild game and fish make wonderful table fare, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is teaming with premier Kansas City chefs for classes on cooking food from the wild. Each of the Field to Fork sessions is free, although a refundable $20 deposit is required to hold a spot for the sessions at MDC's Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center.

"My goal is to teach an appreciation for wild game and fish, and their unique textures and flavors," said James Worley, the MDC education specialist organizing the Field to Fork series. "Hopefully we'll make people get a little closer to food they can get locally by hunting and fishing."

Some premier Kansas City chefs and caterers will join MDC staff to demonstrate preparing game and fish for cooking. Then they will demonstrate recipes both in the Discovery Center kitchen and in outdoor cookery such as using grills. Participants will be offered a hands-on chance to dress fish or prepare cuts of meat, such as cutting a venison loin steak. When the chefs are done cooking, samples will be available for tasting.

Squirrel and catfish will be the first Field to Fork table fare 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City. Guest chef is Brett Atkinson, proprietor of Wilma's Real Good Food, a highly regarded Kansas City food truck.

Panfish and wild turkey will be on the menu from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Noted chef Jasper Mirabile of Jasper's Restaurant is considering recipes such as bass in a bag. Duane Daugherty of Mr. Doggity's Barbecue will be preparing turkey harvested in the wild.

With white-tail deer hunting seasons underway, Craig Adcock of Table Ocho will be preparing venison from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17. MDC staff will also demonstrate how to prepare cuts of meat from a field-dressed deer.

Cooking waterfowl such as duck will conclude the series 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Alex Pope of the Local Pig will demonstrate preparing waterfowl charcuterie such as sausages. Rick Mullins of the Republica restaurant and chef Micky Priolo will prepare dishes from freshly harvested waterfowl.

MDC connects people with nature and the cooking series fits with a movement towards locally sourced and sustainable food sources.

"There's nothing more locally sourced, organic or free range than wild game or fish that you get hunting and fishing," Worley said. "It's the ultimate."

If participants in the first Field to Fork session on Sept. 15 enjoy the taste of squirrel, MDC can introduce them to squirrel hunting. The MDC Parma Woods Shooting Range will offer a Discover Nature ̶ Family Squirrel Hunting Clinic 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25. MDC staff will provide instruction about squirrel hunting equipment, skills and regulations. MDC's Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs will also offer a squirrel hunting workshop series in January that will include an orientation, a hunt, and a cooking session.

Many wild game and fish recipes are tried and true. But for something new, MDC offers "Cooking Wild in Missouri" by Bernadette Dryden. The cook book offers gourmet recipes for main courses and desserts with wild berries. "Cooking Wild in Missouri" is available at MDC public offices and nature centers, and at the online Nature Shop at

To register for a Field to Fork cooking session at the MDC's Discovery Center, call 816-759-7300. Class sizes are limited to 30 participants so registering early is recommended.

For more information on Missouri's outdoors, visit