Well, spacing it out a bit – this will be the last interview from the awesome Taste of Abu Dhabi 2016. Held recently in Abu Dhabi, I got a chance to meet some amazing chefs, including Chef Marco J Morana, Chef Ed Baines as well as Chef Mohammad Orfali. I also got a chance to talk to a very interesting personality – Chef Michael Hunter. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, he is the head chef of Antler Kitchen & Bar. To be honest, I thought it was quite coincidental that he calls himself “The Hunter Chef”. Antler is a restaurant that celebrates local and wild food. Moreover, it seemed quite rustic that he put on an apron that symbolized “hunting”.
It’s a bit “off-guard” (I’ll say), when I meet someone who cooks the food they hunt. But I guess I could somehow relate to when I used to grow my own pot of Basil & Thyme! I for certain can definitely say that Chef Micahel Hunter was an absolutely amazing person to meet!
And the dish he prepared during the competition, well, who’d say no to a Spice Ash Crusted Rack of Deer? (which his is Signature dish that’s on the menu at the restaurant as well!). Braised Neck of Deer ragu with a Parsnip Sauce? My God! I could tell it tasted so good just by looking at it!
Let’s get on with the interview shall we?
(CM stands for Chef Michael and T stands for Trevor, that’s me)
T: Well first of all, How are you Chef?
CM: I’m good thank you!
T: And how has Taste of Abu Dhabi been so far?
CM: It’s been incredible! Meeting chefs from around the world is really an amazing experience!
T: Is this your first time in Abu Dhabi by the way?
CM: Yes it is my first time the Middle East actually, my first time in the United Arab Emirates.
T: I’m sure its pretty cold back in Toronto now righ?
CM: Well, its getting cold actually. Now that its Fall turning to Winter, its nice to be a warm climate right now!
Let’s get on with the food…
T: Okay chef, on reading your profile, you’re quite well known as “The Hunter Chef”, so obviously that has a lot to do with meat and all. Hence, just a stupid question maybe, Do you always eat your veggies?
CM: Haha! Yes I do! I love Mushrooms actually, and that’s one of my favorites to pick! So I’m hunting all kinds of things, not just meat. I do Maple Syrup every Spring (we tap Maple Trees in the Spring). So yeah, its a lot of things I do besides hunting!
T: Well for how many years have you been professionally cooking now?
CM: 19 years now! I was 13 years old when I started my first professional Chef job!
T: So from then to now, what would you pick as your “favorite” ingredient to cook with?
CM: Honestly, its really anything I find or forage that is my favorite. If we were to go to someone’s farm and kill a lamb or goat right there, that’s the most fresh its going to be. The best quality you can expect from the meat – so that is my favorite! Or even when we go to the woods and pick Mushrooms from there and make a nice Risotto! – That is my favorite!
T: Okay Chef, hypothetically speaking, if tomorrow was the apocalypse, and if you had to cook your last meal, what would it be?
CM: (chuckles) I think deer. I love the deer heart. The offcuts as well! I particularly love the heart. I feel like if you eat the heart of an animal right after its been killed, you get like this “energy buzz”. it’s like having a shot of Espresso! Its so rich in nutrients.
T: Okay Chef, if I do come to Toronto one day, I will definitely make it a point to meet you guys at the Antler! So what dish would you recommend I try from there?
CM: Well I’d say the Signature Dish which I made today – the Spice Ash Crusted Rack of Deer. Another dish that we do is a Rabbit Pappardelle, which is amazing dish!
T: Okay chef, that’s it! Thank you so much! Was lovely meeting you!
CM: Thank you again! Was lovely meeting you as well! Cheers!
About Chef Michael Hunter
You can follow Chef Michael Hunter on his Facebook Page at –> https://www.facebook.com/Thehunterchef/
Last but not least, you can check out the Antler Kitchen & Bar at –> http://antlerkitchenbar.com/
Well, that’s me signing off with the Interview. Hey! The Festive season is just around the corner…some goodies coming up soon!