I was born in North Carolina and have lived in Florida, so I have a great connection to the traditions of the South and true southern cooking and Cuban cuisine instilled in me by my mother and grandparents.
But I have an unbridled passion for the state of North Dakota I have called home for over 30 years. Its people, diverse landscapes, and hunting and fishing opportunities refresh my soul. It’s no wonder Theodore Roosevelt said about the badlands of North Dakota, “It was here that the romance of my life began.”
In recent years, I have also journeyed to Montana and Wyoming in search of elk, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer to help fill my freezer. I cherish my time in the field chasing animals, but I also love bringing my harvest back to cook and share with family and friends. Today, I am able to hunt and fish enough to provide all the meat my wife, my daughter, and I consume all year. And I process everything myself, and enjoy teaching and mentoring others so they can do the same.
Cooking gives me a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people’s perceptions. My goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking.
I hope that by sharing and celebrating the food I create with the fish and wild game I harvest, I can highlight the great contribution so many hunters and anglers have made to conservation in this country, and reflect the freedom we have to enjoy America’s great outdoors.
Connect with Jeff Benda Instagram: @ndwildgamecook