From the Field to Your Table: Exclusive Interview with Authors of "Hunting for Food" Image

From the Field to Your Table: Exclusive Interview with Authors of "Hunting for Food"

Updated: June 30th 2017 @ 9:28am

cooking food hunting ideas

Rick Wheatley and Jenny Nguyen are authors of Hunting for Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressings and Cooking Wild Game, 176 pages of step-by-step photos on how to hunt, clean and cook 13 different species of game, including fish, turtle and crayfish. 

With dishes such as venison medallions with whiskey, mushroom and horseradish cream sauce, sweet apricot and curry venison kebabs, garlic and lime grilled whole bluegill, aged and roasted pheasant, and venison cabbage rolls, we knew this was no ordinary cookbook, so we caught up with them for an exclusive interview, which they graciously provided.

Venison medallions with whiskey, mushroom and horseradish cream sauce:


Sweet apricot and curry venison kebabs:


Roasted pheasant:


Venison cabbage rolls:


Garlic and lime grilled whole bluegill:
Garlic and lime grilled whole bluegill


Dream Sporting Trips

Thank you, Jenny and Rick, for taking time to talk to us! Please tell us a little about your background(s), how you met.


Jenny.jpgWe met at an equestrian center in Anaheim, California. I was attending UCLA at the time and after earning my first paycheck from my first job, I decided to pick up horseback riding the summer after freshman year. Rick was my instructor, and we became great friends. He always talked about hunting during our time together at the barn and finally cooked up some venison and wild duck for me to try one afternoon. It was delicious, and I became completely sold on the idea of hunting for food.

We began cooking up all sorts of dishes from his freezer full of game. We created our Food for Hunters blog in 2011. It was mostly for fun—something to do as a couple, but at the same time, we also wanted to help others navigate how to cook wild game. There are still many hunters out there—and their wives and girlfriends-- who still don’t know what to do with the meat.

Rick also worked at Turner’s Outdoorsman (a hunting and fishing chain in California) at the time. He bought me my first gun and taught me how to shoot. A couple years later Rick invited me to hunt the November rifle deer season with him and his cousins in Nebraska. I shot my first deer then. Shortly after graduating college with a degree in English, I landed a job with NEBRASKAland Magazine. I moved to Nebraska in January 2013; Rick made the move in October.

Rick gets to hunt and fish quite often now. I don’t hunt as much anymore—my passion is still horseback riding and most recently English fox hunting, but I help with the cleaning and butchering. We eat wild game almost every night at home and continue to develop recipes for our blog and other publications.

Dream Sporting Trips 

What fish and game do you hunt? Do you fish/hunt only locally in Nebraska? Do you travel to hunt and fish? Do you have a favorite place?


We’re open to hunting and attempting to cook just about anything, here or abroad if we get the chance. Our opportunities in Nebraska have included deer, pheasant, quail, wild turkey, rabbit, squirrel, dove, ducks and geese. We also have some experience hunting for snapping turtles in Nebraska, and we’ve gone wild hog hunting in Oklahoma. We do fish, and our favorites are bluegill, crappie, wiper, trout, walleye, various species of bass and catfish. Rick has also fished many saltwater species in Southern California and Mexico, including tunas, Dorado (mahi-mahi), wahoo and more. He has been to Alaska to fish for salmon, halibut and other species. We would like to travel more, but we accomplish what our budget allows.

Dream Sporting Trips 

Do you have a favorite adventure you’d like to tell about?


Rick.jpgMy last deer hunt was pretty exciting. I only had the last weekend of the rifle season to hunt due to work constraints and went out on four hunts that weekend with an antlerless-only tag. Saturday morning, I saw eight bucks and two does. I couldn’t shoot the bucks, and the does were in no position for a safe shot. That evening I saw five does, but again, I wasn’t presented a shot. The pressure was on!

Sunday morning, I woke with the determination to shoot the first antlerless deer I saw. As luck would have it, I didn’t see a thing. That evening would be my last chance for a deer. My cousin came out with me to help spot deer. All afternoon we waited with nothing stirring— not even a squirrel!

With about fifteen minutes of shooting time left to the season, five does bolted out from the brush being chased by a small spike buck. It was chaos as they ran through the trees and brush. All we could do was watch. One very large doe stopped broadside from me at about 25 yards and stood still, watching all that was going on around her. This was the chance I needed.

I aimed carefully and squeezed the trigger. “Click!” I couldn’t believe it. I knew I had a round chambered. Without much movement, I opened the bolt slightly to check the chamber. Yes, it had a round ready to go. I closed the bolt and with the doe still standing there, I squeezed again. “Click!” “No, this can’t be true!” I thought.

With the second pull of the trigger, the doe heard me and shot a stare straight at us. My cousin was sitting behind me watching the whole scenario unfold. We both had to freeze. After what seemed like forever, the commotion around the doe caught her attention and she bolted off. My heart sank as I felt that may have been my only chance. Still, I quickly ejected the bad round and rammed a new one in the chamber. There was an opening about 5-6 feet wide that I had been looking through the whole weekend that I thought would be pretty cool if I had the chance to shoot through it for a deer. It was about 90 yards to the end. The deer started heading towards that direction so I aimed down that alley and waited. It would be my only chance.

Suddenly a deer ran right across this alley, but too fast. Then I noticed a second deer’s nose sticking out from behind a tree on the left side. The deer took a slow step and then another. For a split second the deer was right in the middle of this “bowling alley”. I squeezed the trigger again, and this time the rifle roared, and I saw the deer mule kick in the air and take a leap behind the trees. I looked back at my cousin who was grinning from ear to ear. We waited a few minutes and went out to see what we could find. We found the deer piled up only a few feet from where we last saw it kick. There was a perfectly placed bullet hole right behind the shoulder. It was probably the best shot I’ve taken on a deer and under stressful circumstances. This all took place in a matter of a few minutes. I was elated to say the least.

Dream Sporting Trips 

Who is the cook in your family? Or do both of you cook?


We can both cook, but I typically do most of the day to day cooking. If we’re developing a recipe for our blog or other publication, we’ll both pitch in.

Dream Sporting Trips

The titles of the recipes on your website sound wonderful. What is your favorite recipe? Is it difficult to prepare? 


We may sound like proud parents, but we really like many of them. It has been a treat to be able to prepare and then eat the dishes we create. A few of our favorites may be Egyptian-style venison in rich onion sauce, Persian venison shank with saffron, pheasant and spinach fettuccine alfredo and a tasty apricot wild duck with Swiss chard and goat cheese polenta . On the fish side, we like grilled wahoo with mango salsa, pan seared walleye with balsamic-glazed cherry tomatoes, and Vietnamese catfish braised in a clay pot. A new favorite is snapping turtle braised in white wine and also Thai-style turtle and potato curry. Though these recipes may sound like they are difficult, we pride ourselves in the fact that they are really quite easy to make. Keep it simple and good!

Dream Sporting Trips

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


We really enjoy what we do and are very proud of our book that has been out for a few months now. It is a great field guide for the novice outdoors person or even the experienced person who would like to try something new. It’s very informative and each chapter ends with a couple of our recipes so you know what to do with your game once you get it.



How to Order Book:

Hunting for FoodHunting for Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game, 176 pages of step-by-step photos on how to hunt, clean and cook 13 different species of game, including fish, turtle and crayfish ($22.99 print or $11.99 Amazon Kindle)

Drive yourself toward self-sufficiency and learn how to hunt, process, and cook a wide variety of wild game with Hunting for Food by Jenny Nguyen and Rick Wheatley. Begin with detailed instructions on the best practices for hunting different types of game, including coverage of how to find or attract the game you’re looking to hunt, best times for hunting, and the gear you’ll need to be successful. Chapters include color step-by-step photos on how to clean and cook 13 different species of game. All copies purchased from us will be signed!

Be sure to follow them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter!

"From the field... to your table."
Food for Hunters

Twitter: @FoodForHunters
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