|“The word ‘hunter’ conjures up all kinds of imagery. For some, a Grizzly Adams type with raccoon hat and a cabin littered with the heads of the gentlest of woodland creatures. For others, the modern redneck with full assault ATV, head-to-toe camouflage and an automatic weapon leftover from the Iraq war. Fact is that many are more reminiscent of pre-colonial native peoples, harvesting and hunting the land with the respect it deserves. Chad Brealey falls into the latter and has made it part of his life’s goal to help us understand why and how.
If you don’t know Chad but eat food, look him up. I wanted to list all of the ways he has reestablished his personal relationship with the food chain, but my word count quickly evaporated. Fortunately, that’s where his TV and web series Salt, Fresh & Field steps in and provides supporting evidence. We find Chad foraging for oysters, climbing for berries, snorkeling for crabs and hunting bucks to render the entire animal to share as a feast for many. He takes us on journeys of ‘everything to table’.”
“His love for adventure and exploring our vast landscape is infectious. Last winter Chad texted me and it read ‘Y’all want a couple pheasants for your fall weekend plans? They’re in hand from a barley/corn plot.’
For a split second, knowing full well these pheasants were going to arrive, feathers and all, in a cooler with a small amount of buckshot to remove, I hesitated just long enough to text back “F**k Yes”.
They were exceptional and worth the work. Breaking down an animal – as we say in the restaurant world – simply means taking it apart into sections before using them all, connecting us with the sacrifice that animal has made for our collective plates.
If Chad had his way, we’d all know how to process our own kills and engage in that process. He knows – and I agree wholeheartedly – that, by osmosis, our respect for the food system would increase exponentially if we all did so. Even once.
People en masse still don’t want to know that Bambi made their barbeque a hit, but Chad’s approach to food is that of love and respect, while being brutally honest. In our quickly evaporating landscape of ‘REAL FOOD’ and ever growing move towards synthesis littered with the GMO tagline, Chad is a loud-ass hero.
Just my kind.”
– Mark Brand, nominator
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