Brenda Mutchler, president of Game Sales International Inc., stands in the freezer of her Loveland business Wednesday afternoon.
...Owner Brenda Mutchler and her husband, Robert, started the business in the late 1970s.
"We started selling to white tablecloth restaurants," Mutchler
Most of their customers were fine-dining restaurants and hotels, many in the resort towns of Aspen, Vail and Jackson Hole, Wyo.
While most of Game Sales customers are still restaurants - the company sells to 1,000 restaurants nationwide, including locals such as The Inglenook
, Jay's Bistro, Nico's Catacombs, Chimney Park and the Ptarmigan Golf Course
said people are getting more adventurous with their eating habits.
"The trend is changing," she
The variety of cooking shows has made exotic cooking more accessible to people, she
And men are doing more of the cooking. Mutchler
said the appeal of game meat extends to men but also to anyone who is health-conscious.
Game meat is much lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, pork or chicken.
A 4-ounce serving of bison or venison has 130 to 160 calories, 1 to 3 grams of fat and 36 to 79 milligrams of cholesterol compared to the same serving of beef, which can have 200-plus calories, 10 grams of fat and 92 milligrams of cholesterol.
"These products are basically what our ancestors ate," Mutchler
"They went out and hunted the quail, duck and venison and foraged," she
also hears from people who just want to try something different.
"I just got an e-mail from a guy that said ‘I don't want to serve a spiral ham again on Thanksgiving,'" she
Game meat can be used in any recipe, Mutchler
said.Just cook for less time because the meat is so much lower in fat.
Alligator has the texture of chicken with the flavor of fish, Mutchler
"It's great deep fried, stir fried or sauteed for an appetizer," she
Kangaroo is a dark red meat, resembling beef in texture but with a stronger, richer flavor, Mutchler
Russian wild boar makes awesome green chili, she
"It's a fun business," Mutchler
said."I absolutely love it."She
has traveled around the world, from elk farms in New Zealand, to oil processing plants in Italy, to the Paris food show, looking for purveyors of different products.
"I enjoy meeting the different array of people of all nationalities," she
When Mutchler's husband died last January, she
took over sales and brought in her
son, Larry, to help manage the business.She
said the business continues to fascinate her
"A lot of people are kind of unfamiliar with this business," she
"They think we go out and hunt the elk and shoot the venison.I've had people ask for opossum or squirrel," she
The company does not carry those.
As a woman running a business in a male-dominated field, Mutchler
said being knowledgeable is key.That, and being honest and standing up for yourself.
"I never know from one minute to the next who I could be talking to.I could be talking overseas or to a housewife or a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief," she