Unity College's 13th wild game dinner sold-out

Meal prepared by Unity students, celebrity chef celebrates Maine’s hunting and fishing heritage

Kate Krukowski Gooding

Students will get experience in event management, fund and friend-raising, and the culinary arts when Unity College hosts its 13th annual Sportsmen’s Conference and Wild Game Dinner at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, Friday, April 14.

Prepared by a celebrity chef with the help of Unity College students, the main dinner is a four-course meal featuring fresh, wild game served with salad, bread, and dessert.

Appetizers will be served in the Leonard R. Craig Gallery inside the UCCPA, and will include beaver, moose heart, wild turkey, pheasant, smoked trout, and more.

This year’s dishes include regular favorites like the venison pie (mule deer), fried black crappie, bear sausage balls, smoked wild turkey, and smoked lake trout. New dishes will include moose tongue pate, apple venison meatloaf, curried beaver, pheasant in shiitake mushroom sauce, and rosemary citrus turkey bites.

Ticket prices are $35 for regular seating; $60 for VIP tickets that include access to preferred seating, additional appetizers, and three additional bottles of wine per table. All proceeds benefit Operation Game Thief Maine and Unity College. This year’s event is sold-out, but those still interested in attending can be placed on a waiting list.

“The Wild Game Dinner provides guests a wonderful introduction to Unity College and gives a different take on eating local,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “In our dining halls everyday, we serve up organic produce, vegan options, and locally-raised meats. The Wild Game Dinner is the other side of the local foods coin. Everywhere I go this time of year it’s all people want to talk about.”

The event has been featured in Portland Magazine and other publications, and was listed among Maine’s Top 20 “must do” events by the Bangor Daily News.

“Year after year, the game dinner sells-out months in advance. Connoisseurs of wild game have this on their calendar as far as three years out,” said Unity College Director of Admissions Joe Saltalamachia ’95, an organizer of the event.

Saltalamachia said the event is “a regional tradition attended by a broad spectrum of individuals, including hunters and the non-hunting public.”

“Most of the people who attend are non-hunters wanting to experience the unique taste of fresh wild game, prepared the Maine way,” Saltalamachia said. “It’s definitely one of the best dinners of its kind in the state and, quite possibly, the best in New England.”

The celebrity chef for this year’s event is Kate Krukowski Gooding, cookbook author of the wild game series, “Black Fly Stew.” This will be Gooding’s debut cooking for the event.

A self-trained chef, Krukowski Gooding was raised in Enfield, Conn., and Jackman, Maine, and put herself through college running restaurants, and catering events and private parties. She hostesses annual Solstice Parties, with 2013 marking her 25th year of creating culinary adventures for friends on the longest night of the year.

Gooding has authored numerous culinary books, including “Black Fly Stew: Wild Maine Recipes,” “Simple Gourmet Lamb with Side Dishes and Wine Pairings,” “50 Ways to Eat a Beaver” and “Free-Range Fish & Lobster,” as well as two specialty cookbooks for private companies.

Gooding also holds wild game cooking demonstrations of Maine-inspired dishes from Milwaukee to Maine. She has appeared on numerous news shows in Maine, the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” and more.

Saltalamachia, a perennial chef for the event, said Krukowski Gooding is very familiar with wild game cooking and will offer a great teammate in the kitchen.

“She’s been instrumental in promoting wild game cooking, and I am looking forward to creating unique dishes with her,” Saltalamachia said.

The event begins with appetizers at 4:15 p.m. Dinner is served at 5 p.m. Tickets are limited. In the event of a sell-out, people will be placed on a waiting list and are encouraged to purchase tickets for next year’s dinner in advance.

“The wild game dinner appetizers and entrées are comparable to those served at some of Maine’s best restaurants,” Saltalamachia said. “the fact that so many diners attempt to reserve next year’s tickets the week after the event is a testament to the quality of the food and the fun. No one goes home hungry.”

For tickets, contact Joe Saltalamachia at (207) 509-7205, or e-mail The Unity College Center for Performing Arts is located at 42 Depot St., in Unity.

Saturday, April 08, 2017