SURPLUS pheasants from an Ilkley shoot are winging their way back into the food chain – and bagging cash for charity – thanks to an initiative at Le Bistro Des Amis in Skipton.

Le Bistro’s chef patron Luc Daguzan has again teamed up with Embsay’s Bob Middleton, who has strong links with the local shoot.

Bob said: “When the shoot lost its game dealer last year we were left in a quandary as to what to do with the many birds surplus to the shooting parties’ own requirements. While at Le Bistro I asked Luc if he could make use of them. He readily agreed, like myself feeling it would be a tragedy if the birds went to waste.”

At the end of the 2018/19 shooting season, Le Bistro had taken delivery of around 1,500 pheasants, staging a post-season charity event in February that netted £4,000 for the Otley & Dales branch of Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), for whom Bob acts as a coach.

The fund-raising kitty was boosted by generous donations of auction prizes, some from English Premiership soccer clubs, thanks to Bob’s contacts there via his own company, Genica Environmental, which specialises in infection prevention, initially developed with Liverpool FC and now used across the Premiership.

Luc has now taken the initiative a step further by offering to donate £1 to charity for every portion of pheasant sold at Le Bistro. He said the team was determined to raise even more this time around ahead of another post-season fund-raiser to be staged next February.

The local RDA branch, one of almost 500 nationwide, whose horses benefit the lives of over 25,000 children and adults, meets at Draughton Riding Centre every Wednesday and, with 30 volunteers on board, Bob among them, provides therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement to 21 disabled adults and young people.

Bob said: “The money has enabled us to do so much. Not only have we been able to purchase new riding hats, jodhpurs, gloves and other much-needed equipment, but also open up access to others.

“Two new local schools – Embsay COE Primary and Greatwood Community Primary in Skipton. - are now riding with us The kids absolutely love it and the experience actually acts as an Incentive to help them do better at school. The generosity of Luc, his team and customers, plus all who supported the fund-raising, was absolutely amazing. We cannot thank them enough. They’ve made a real difference.”

The pheasant dish is breast of pheasant stuffed with chestnuts and tarragon breadcrumbs, wrapped in crispy back and served in a reduction sauce.

Bob added: “I’ve tried it and I loved it. What they do with it at Le Bistro is absolute magic!”

Luc added: “If any other local shoots want to provide surplus pheasants we are more than happy to take them. It’s such a crying shame if they simply go to waste. It’s all about conscience. They belong in the food chain and we’re doing just that – with the added benefit of supporting a very deserving and worthwhile local charity.”