Speaking off the toque: Francis Walters, executive chef at the Rainbow Lodge, 1 Birdsall Street, (713)861-8666.
Q. How do you maintain a supply of wild game even when it is not hunting season? Are these, in fact, farm-raised animals?
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A. A lot of it is wild and not necessarily farm-raised. In West Texas, there are huge ranches -- enormous amounts of property -- square miles of it. The animals there are allowed to run free and are hunted to order. They feed on the local plants, berries, acorns and so on. The elk, bison and wild boar are raised without the drugs and hormones used for farm animals. If they were fed, cared for, they would be considered farm-raised. Some of the meat, particularly venison, comes from the Cervena Company in New Zealand. Most of our quail does come from a farm, Manchester Farms in South Carolina, who are very high-quality producers.