Nichola Fletcher is an experienced cookery demonstrator and teacher specialising in how to handle and cook meat, in particular game meats and of course she is best known for her encyclopaedic knowledge of venison. She is versatile and happy to work in a wide range of venues: shops, marquees, village halls, catering kitchens or a full public demonstration kitchen. Nichola also gives illustrated lectures and practical workshops on food-related subjects; her two specialities are food history and venison. Although demonstrations on venison and game are the most popular, Nichola has also done a number of historical demonstrations, from ancient dining and how to make live birds come out of a pie, or how to fill a pastry stag with wine, to WWII recipes that actually taste good.
WHAT TO EXPECT
When Nichola gives a cooking demonstration she is delivering a carefully thought-out programme tailored to the needs of the audience - she is educating and entertaining - definitely not doing a commercial product promotion. After one of her demonstrations her audience has been entertained but also has learned a great deal of practical knowledge and useful tips. Typically in a 1 ½ - 2 hour demonstration she will prepare about 8 dishes and audiences are delighted with the results.
Delivering this standard of demonstration requires at least 1-1½ day’s work beforehand, preparing the programme and the order of dishes, sourcing and shopping for ingredients, preparing and precooking some ingredients, preparing recipe sheets, liaising with the venue and collating all the necessary equipment. Afterwards everything needs washing and putting away. Because Nichola is not promoting any particular product, all this has to be paid for. But it’s hard to put a price on customer satisfaction...
Amongst others, clients have included:
The Crieff Food Company
The Deer Commission for Scotland
Ministry of Defence
Scottish Game Fair
Scottish Executive Food Tourism Workshops
Scottish Hotel School
CLA Game Fair
Latvian Deer Farmers
British Deer Farmers Association & Deer Industry New Zealand
Taste of Tain
Taste of Edinburgh
National Museums of Scotland
Scottish Fisheries Museum
York Food Festival
Tutored Game Tastings
Nichola Fletcher is one of the UK's leading experts on game: its cooking, preparation, folklore, and appreciation. Her tutored game tastings offer a unique opportunity to find out what game actually tastes like, and why. They take the form of a whole evening's fascinating eating and entertainment during which Nichola cooks, in front of you, 15-20 different types of game meats.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As she cooks in front of her audience, Nichola explains some of the many things that affect the taste of these meats: environment, diet, age, marinating, hanging (or not), killing, etc as well as some dos and don'ts of cooking game meats, and hopefully dispel a few hoary old myths.
Subject to availability, game birds include guinea fowl, pheasant, partridge, pigeon, grouse, woodcock, wild duck, wild goose. Game meats cover hare, rabbit, grey squirrel, wild boar as well as venison in several guises. You taste the difference between hung and not-hung meats; marinated and non-marinated; farmed and wild, raw, smoked and cured meats. The "meal" is interspersed with refreshing salads and Nichola's own home-made bread to clear your palate, then rounded off with desserts. By the end of the evening, you will have had a lengthy meal and know much more about a fascinating range of meats.
It should be noted that this is not a cooking demonstration; most meats are prepared without accompaniments to give the opportunity to compare the tastes and textures. In this way it bears more comparison to a wine-tasting. Nichola can stage a Tutored Game Tasting almost anywhere, subject to regulations on transporting game meats.
‘Her tutored game tasting was fascinating, informative, delicious and fun. To taste and compare nineteen different forms of game, both feathered and furred, some very fresh, some hung, some smoked some cured, and some marinated, was a treat.’ Christchurch Association Newsletter, Oxford
‘Nichola - Just a very quick note to thank you very much for the Slow Food event last night. Delicious food of course, but also so interesting to see how much there is to learn!’
Costs per head will depend principally on the number of guests but will cover the game meats, home made bread (brown and white), salads and other ingredients for the tasting; desserts; travelling expenses, and a fee which covers both the tasting and the preparation time beforehand (procuring, hanging, plucking, boning out, any pre-cooking required, etc.)
Costs not included are the venue (though Nichola can accommodate up to 25 people at her home in Fife), plates, cutlery, glasses, assistants, chairs, tables, etc. Alcoholic drinks are not included as Nichola Fletcher is not licenced to sell alcohol.
Nichola's Tutored Game Tastings are a unique speciality; she has given them, amongst others, to
- The Edinburgh Gastronomical Society
- The International Wine and Food Society
- The Scottish Chamber Orchestra
- The Guild of Food Writers
- The St Andrews Food and Wine society