My whole life has revolved around eating and being in the outdoors.
I grew up in the suburbs of London, Ontario, but still found ways to spend all of my free time in every woodlot, greenbelt, or trail that I could find. Even at a very young age, my mind was always on food and I would scour the natural areas for wild edibles (and reaching over the odd fence for not-so-wild edibles!). I was cooking without help by the age of 7, cooking for the family by 11, and experimenting with cooking international cuisines by 13.
Not wanting to be stuck in a tiny restaurant kitchen for the rest of my life, I decided to pursue a career in the outdoors instead, spending my 20’s and early 30’s bouncing around Canada, picking up jobs as a backcountry ranger, canoe guide, arborist, trails technician, riparian restoration technician, parks operations tech., and more. Interspersed throughout those years, I also managed to find the time to apprentice as a butcher, work at an Amish farm and cannery, and to help run a low-tech organic vegetable farm for several years.
Wherever I was, I found time to grow, find, experiment with, cook, and eat food.
I had spent a fair amount of time fishing and foraging throughout those years, but I had never hunted, mostly due to a total lack of exposure to it in my life. None of my friends, family, or peers hunted while I was growing up and it just didn’t seem like an accessible pastime or lifestyle. I felt like I would enjoy hunting, but didn’t know where to start, or how to find the time.
That changed in my mid-30’s when I finally settled down long enough to get everything I needed to hunt, and met some friends and neighbours with hunting experience who helped me get started. I’ve spent the last couple years learning the ropes and throwing myself into hunting, fishing, and foraging with a renewed passion.
I approach hunting from a food angle and try to make the most out of everything I harvest; cooking with a nose-to-tail approach and finding fun international recipes to feature game in.
I run a recipe and how-to website (www.theintrepideater.com) that deals with a lot of wild foods and also run pages on Facebook and Instagram as The Intrepid Eater, where I showcase all of my food, cooking, and eating adventures. I’m excited to be a part of the Harvesting Nature team where I can share some of what I’ve learned and hopefully glean some new knowledge as well.
So far, I’ve done a lot of turkey, grouse, whitetail, and waterfowl hunting, but Canada goose has been my favourite (and most productive) of everything I’ve tried. I’m excited to learn more about hunting different species and experimenting with them in the kitchen!