Mix together 225 men with more than 600 pounds of gourmet-quality, meticulously prepared wild game and what have you got?
The 43rd annual Schreiner Custom Stairs Game Feed at Fostoria, that s what.
Mel Schreiner, the feed s founding father, holds the annual dinner with the kitchen help of a veteran cadre of family and friends - just for the fun of it.
The invites all are done by Mel personally, and he brings in men from every walk of life, factory workers to politicians, men of average means to the wealthy.
This year Schreiner also brought home one of his star pupils, Greg Shultz. Indeed, Shultz, 37 and a native of Fostoria, is the student-turned-teacher-turned-master. For the last 12 years he has been head chef and lodge manager at the 250,000-acre Trinchera Ranch near Fort Garland, Colo., owned by the Forbes publishing family.
“And he works for me now and then,” kidded Schreiner during a lull in the kitchen while army kitchen-size pots of turtle soup and seafood chowder simmered away.
This year Shultz s specialty offerings at the feed included Sichuan-style mountain lion, mule deer in Fijian coconut curry, dove in a white wine sauce, Cajun-style wild turkey breast, caribou meatballs with Mexican green chili barbecue sauce, and something called “Oregon medley,” which he describes as “gizzards and livers from every species you could think of.”
Shultz attended Fostoria St. Wendelin High School and graduated with Schreiner s son, Tim, in 1985. The two friends hunted, fished, and cooked together in school, and Shultz, shunning college, thought those pastimes might make good lifetime pursuits.
He briefly worked in a meat-packing plant, which closed, then he worked a spell for Schreiner before enrolling in the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Graduating top of the class, he was hired by the late publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes. He worked a year at Trinchera, then was shipped to the South Seas, working as assistant manager and chef for two years at the Forbes family s luxurious Lauycala Island retreat in the Fiji archipelago.
To complement Shultz s offering, the menu included huge, heaping pan-loads of roast elk, buffalo, mule deer and white-tailed deer, alligator, turtle, pheasant, rabbit, duck, goose, squirrel, ostrich, and walleye, salmon, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, and shrimp. Except for the shrimp and ostrich, all the fish and game was taken from the wild, Schreiner said. “And I probably missed one or two of them.”
For “balance,” Schreiner and crew also serve bread, succotash, and wilted endive salad. None of that included the 200-plus sausage sandwiches served up for “crew and onlookers.”
When Shultz returns to the meanwhile-back-at-the-ranch part of his life, he ll enjoy fishing and hunting in his off-duty hours. He prefers archery hunting for big game, and upland bird hunting, the latter often done in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. He owns four hunting dogs - two Labs, a German shorthair, and a “Heinz 57” as Schreiner puts it.
Believe it or not, the vast mountains-to-mountains Trinchera Ranch offers hunting packages and conference accommodations to the public, Shultz said. Call 1-800-FORBES-5. Shultz even may be one of the guides on a hunt, and maybe you could talk him into frying up some elk tenderloins.
The 2004 edition of Bassmaster University is coming to the Hilton Akron Fairlawn complex in Akron Saturday and Sunday.
Professional instructors for this everything-about-bass-fishing program include Mike Iaconelli, Shaw Grigsby, Mark Menendez, Joe Thomas, Rich Tauber, and Zell Rowland.
Classroom instruction begins at 8 a.m. both days and participants will attend 12 different workshops. To enroll, call Bassmaster University at 1-866-732-BASS.
Today - Winter bird program for seniors, 2 p.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Buehner Center; call for reservations, 419-535-3057 extension 101; also, Saturday, junior historians/winter wigwam program, ages 8 to 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., building a wigwam and making moccassins, fee; call for reservations, 419-535-3057 extension 145; also, valentines for the birds, 10 a.m., Oak Openings/Buehner Center, making birdseed treats and a brief hike; call extension 101 for reservations; also, adventure touring and hiking, 1 to 3:30 p.m., Side Cut Metropark, Lamb Center, hike or ski 1 p.m., slide program and the historic Maumee River, 2:15 p.m.; also, Sunday, raptor workshop, 1 p.m., with Black Swamp Bird Observatory, at Pearson, Macomber Lodge.
Tonight - Open house/career exploration night, 7 to 8:30, Toledo schools Natural Science Technology Center, 5561 Elmer Dr.; for high school students and parents to learn about opportunities in natural resources, floriculture, landscaping, and animal care.
Tomorrow - Ohio Wildlife Council, 7 p.m., first floor conference room, Ohio Wildlife District 1, 1500 Dublin Rd., Columbus, consideration of deer management proposals; call 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Tomorrow through Sunday - Columbus Sports, Vacation, and Boat Show, Ohio Expo Center, Ohio State Fairgrounds, 17th Avenue Exit west off I-71, Columbus; visit the show s Web site, www.hartproductions.com.
Tomorrow - Landscaping with nature, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Sandusky County Park District, Countryside Drive off U.S. 6, south of U.S. 20 bypass, east edge of Fremont; call the park district, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577; also, Thursday, sweethearts walk, 6:30 p.m., White Star Park, County Road 65 east of State Rt. 300, Gibsonburg; call to register.