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Side Dishes: Cooking demo planned for the Sportsman's Classic

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Got whitetail? Well, now you've gotta cook it. "It's not the kind of thing that's offered on the Food Network or in most cooking magazines," says Chris Saunders, hunter education coordinator at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. "Too often, people take the easy way out and make a casserole . . . Not that I have anything against cream of mushroom soup or Italian seasoning."

Looking for a different deer recipe? Saunders is organizing the cooking demos for the 16th annual Yankee Sportsman's Classic in January at the Champlain Valley Exposition. Along with such scintillating seminars as "The Mystique of Following the Whitetail's Track" and "The Duties of a Vermont State Game Warden," last year "We offered a game preparation and cooking seminar . . . it was very successful," Saunders says. "There's a lot of demand for us to do it again."

NECI Chef Instructor Brian Severance helped out last year, but he won't be available this time around. And while Saunders himself is passionate about cuisine, he modestly suggests he's not up to leading the seminars. "I think I've got more theoretical knowledge than practical knowledge," he says.

Saunders is seeking a replacement for Severance, but so far, he hasn't been able to "nail down a chef" with the right combo of hunting and fishing experience and cooking cred. "We'll find someone, come hell or high water," Saunders vows. "There's a real hunger for this kind of information."

Think you're right for the job? Contact Chris Saunders at 241-3722 or chris.saunders@state.vt.us.

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