When Chef Gillespie is not working in one of his award-winning restaurants, he can be found with a shotgun, rifle, or bow in hand, enjoying the outdoors. “I grew up in a family that was very avid in any sort of outdoor pursuit: fishing, trapping, hunting, camping, you name it. It was not a passing hobby, but a very heavy factor in my life.” He spent many days hunting as a child alongside his father for deer and other wild animals. At 6 years old, Gillespie went afield for the first time and remembers his father waking him up at 4 o’clock in the morning to go hunting. That routine has flooded through to his current life. “I still wake up at about 5 o’clock in the morning every single day.”
Not only was hunting a time to spend with family and friends, it was also a way to feed his family. The food he and his family consumed when he was a child was game harvested by his father or uncle. Much of his inspiration for cooking comes from the outdoors, too. “I gain more inspiration on the way that I cook from being outdoors, than I do reading a cookbook and seeing what my peers are doing,” Gillespie explained.
We recently caught up with Chef Gillespie at his Glenwood Park restaurant, Gunshow. Chef Gillespie prepared elk and venison he harvested from recent hunts. Gillespie processed this meat in-house and walked us through this meticulous process while visiting him in Atlanta.
The full “Welcome to the Gunshow” feature and additional recipes are published in the February-March 18 issue.
Photography by Mike Schalk
- 1 pound venison filet (either leg or back strap will work)
- 2 tablespoons rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 cup Espelette pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Mix the rosemary, garlic, Espelette pepper, and oil together. Pour over the venison filet and place in a zip-top storage bag. Allow the meat to marinate for up to 36 hours.
- Remove from marinade and wipe excess marinade from the meat. Grill over high heat until medium rare. Serve sliced with lime wedges as garnish.
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