I’ve posted my original philosophy here, which also included Thomas Keller’s philosophy on the importance of Rabbits. I would like to expand and refine it because refinement is by definition improvement, no? I think every so often, it’s necessary to bring it around again and further it as The Pursuit grows and I grow. I know some people are squeamish about blood. Some people are turned off by hunting. Many people love fishing. But it seems we are all turned on by eating good food including Wagyu Beef, Berkshire pork belly and Foie gras and Beluga caviar (someones eggs for the next generation)…
As a huge foodie, someone who can find the simplicity of Del Taco and inferno sauce (i’m not sure when they bypassed Taco Bell… but it’s been a while) with no questions asked but question the use of xyz at Le Bernardin or ABC at Jean Georges, I think it’s necessary to say, Out of the top five things I’ve ever had, four were from wild game (including caught from the sea) in the kitchen or the field, and not in a 3 michelin restaurant. It’s stuff so good that it puts you in a trance and can’t stop laughing hysterically.
You just can’t buy these ingredients – the flavor profile is completely different, which I mean more real, more wild, not “gamey” if handled correctly – just, more concentrated. You want beef to taste like beef? It’s not available for sale. One was raw red abalone prepared so simply with ponzu and green onions, and you know what they say about LOVE and FOOD and Love of food and all the love that goes into food and how italian grandmas make the best food cause of all the love? Well, I agree. Which is the disconcerting thing about angry chefs, because it doesn’t make too much sense to me. It’s a hospitality business. R U MAD BRO?
One of the top five things was a red abalone. It first took 1000 miles of wear and tear on the car roundtrip from Los Angeles to the border of CA and Oregon, up some windy Pacific Coast Highway roads that make you want to vomit, then 45 degree F water not devoid of great white sharks that will gladly “test bite” you thinking you’re a seal. By the time they find out you’re just a lowly human…siyonara to your Femoral artery. After you find the abalone specimen that you want, you must hike back up the hill and process it to the best of your ability. Meaning, for sashimi – firmly hit the abalone to tense up the muscle and firm up the meat, and then shucked from the shell. BUT, the key step is to take off the outside chewy membrane which every Chinese restaurant leaves on and why many people think abalone is “chewy.” Well I suppose if we kept the ribcage/spine on while cooking chicken breast and served it that way, then people may think chicken breast is bony as well, but that’s not the ideal way. Remember that tiny abalone at Sasabune or Sushi Zo or xyz restaurant that tasted chewy and whatever? Not that.
I’m a LOVER of animals. I am a human… I have a conscience. But two weeks ago a group of 30 wild boars came on to a property I got three. Hunted one with a 30-06 rifle and when the group split up and my rifle cartridge was empty, I ran after one and harvested it, and the other caught by hand and chased after it and grabbed it. Have caught 15 in the last month and half after receiving a very special permit by the department of fish and game California. And yet, surprisingly with such a high take rate, the meat has not been wasted. I mean NONE. Not the bones or the cheeks or the heart or the livers. It’s ALL GOOD!!!!
Family and friends and charities have received meat, both in cooked and uncooked versions. Some people on instagram – complete strangers were able to make some delicious food from the meat by meeting me in front of Bestia.
I’m not a savage. Although capturing IS fun just like fishing: “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”
A distinction needs to be made because it’s not killing which is fun. Killing is difficult. Killing is the necessary to achieve the ends:
time in nature – family – community – nourishment – sacrifice – growth – respect .
Killing something that was caught with your bare hands, ALIVE, the most visceral thing I’ve experienced, to have a breathing wild animal as you feel the coarse hair of the animal gripped in between your palms as it squeals with coarse hair loudly squealing in between your palms. They would not survive if released, (lotta coyotes) and the wild suckling pig from last year was probably #2 on my BESTTHINGSIEVERATE. With that said, I decided it was best not to take it back to Los Angeles as a wild boar pet, and thus…harvested it with a knife slit to the throat. It was extremely difficult to hear it squeal (see Thomas Keller’s Rabbit article in my link above). But because it is so difficult, it’s imperative not to waste anything.
I will honor you wild pig.