When Field & Stream Deputy Editor Colin Kearns suggested a weekly post pitting food photo against food photo, I never thought it would make a successful three-year run, but that’s just what happened. Each week since April 1, 2011, a few Field & Stream staff members–and lots of loyal Wild Chef readers–have raised their hands when I asked the question:

“Who wants to fight?”

We had many epic battles among Wild Chef readers. MaxPower, SMC1986, Levi Banks, KoldKut, and Neil Selbicky, among others, regularly showed their chops in the kitchen or on the grill, and continually inspired me with new ideas about cooking wild game. Along the way we learned there were few keys to victory, what I called the Three B’s: backstrap, bacon and beer. If a picture featured one of those three things, it was likely to win. If it happened to have all three, the photo was a lock.

I’m a bit sad to say, but our weekly Food Fights are coming to end. Even the greats need to retire before they get hurt in the ring. I just hope we did so on top; no one likes to watch a punch-drunk champ in it just for another paycheck. So this will be the last Food Fight Friday. And like the first, it will feature Colin and I going head-to-head.

Don’t worry. The Wild Chef blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ll keep checking the e-mail account from time to time, too, so feel free to drop me a note at if you have a question, idea for a blog post, or just want to share a photo of your food with a fellow food photo fiend. Thanks to all who participated in our weekly fights. You’re what made it so successful.

David’s Blackened Mallard


I considered digging a backstrap photo out of my archives just to lock up a victory, but decided my meal from this past Tuesday night was more appropriate. It was Mardi Gras, the last gasp of a good time before Lent; a symbolic end to gluttony–at least for a little while. I went with a few scoops of dirty rice, topped with a mallard breast blackened in a searing-hot cast iron skillet. There was a drink, of course. A honey sazerac (or two). All in all, a good way to say goodbye to the Food Fight and go out, hopefully, on top.

Colin’s Venison Steak Sandwich


It’s been well established that I love a good sandwich, and I can’t think of a better meal for my final contribution to Food Fight Friday. Sandwiches don’t get much simpler than this one: venison sirloin, grilled rare, with nothing but olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper on a toasted baguette. I actually ate this meal a while ago, so I can’t say for sure but I’m confident I enjoyed this sandwich with a bourbon on the rocks (or two). Also, I’d like to echo what David said: Thanks to all of the readers who sent us their food photos over the years. You’re all what made this such a fun weekly contest. Just because we’re taking a break from Food Fight Friday, don’t think for a second that we don’t have some other fun ideas in the works. And just like FFF, we’ll be reaching out to you guys for some help.