Dilham farmer Guy Paterson is crowned game chef of the year - and awarded a whole deer as his prize

PUBLISHED: 13:48 23 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:54 24 July 2014

Guy Paterson, farmer and deer manager is  CLA Game Chef of the Year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Guy Paterson, farmer and deer manager is CLA Game Chef of the Year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

A 26-year-old Norfolk farmer has topped professional chefs to be crowned Game Chef of the Year 2014 – and winning a whole deer.

Guy Paterson, farmer and deer manager is  CLA Game Chef of the Year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYGuy Paterson, farmer and deer manager is CLA Game Chef of the Year. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Guy Paterson, a full-time fourth-generation arable farmer, competed in the finals at Blenheim Palace where he impressed judges with his muntjac and wood pigeon dishes.

Mr Paterson was chosen ahead of hundreds of applicants to reach the semi-finals on Friday, and after winning votes with his pan-fried rump of muntjac, was up against a professional chef in Sunday’s final.

“I was the underdog,” said Mr Paterson. “I was competing with a chef who owned his own pub.”

With three votes each the finalists were asked to cook an extra dish – a pigeon breast with a sauce.

The tie-break had just one judge, editor of The Field, Jonathan Young, who chose Mr Paterson’s dish cooked with blackcurrant jelly and whisky.

The self-taught chef, who travelled to the event with his family and girlfriend Rosie, 23, waited anxiously for the result. He said: “I thought my heart was going to explode. When he said it was me I was speechless but I felt bad for my competitor.”

Mr Paterson initially caught the judges’ attention by designing and cooking a recipe using deer he shot himself as part of the deer management on the family farm at Dilham.

He prepared his game-based dish in five days, and sent a two-minute film as part of his entry.

After being selected for the next round, he travelled to Berkshire where he was up against three professional chefs and a vet.

Despite his national win, Mr Paterson said he has no plans for an immediate career change.

The former Wymondham College pupil said: “I still love the farming and shooting but I could think about cooking for private dining.”

The judging panel at the CLA Game Fair, which took place over the weekend, included a Michelin-starred chef, magazine editor and the competition organiser.

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