Culinary student wins best overall in wild game cook-off

Senior culinary arts student Kin Merchant competed in the 2016 Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild Game Cook-Off State Finals August 6.

Kin and his team, KBeeQue, won Best Overall at the Limestone County Wild Game Cook-Off in March based on quality of the dish’s appearance, organization and taste, according to the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s State Cookout guidelines.  

“I’ve been doing this competition since I entered the program three years ago,” Merchant said. “Every year I try to do something different, something no one else would think of. This time I decided to do a wild game burger.”

Merchant said he tries to make a new dish every year. This year, it was a hit.

 “The best part is getting feedback,” he said. “It’s always awesome to see that look in their eyes when they taste something they enjoy. They’re telling their friends, and they’re pointing to your station. The next thing you know; you have a crowd of people coming over to see what you’ve made. It’s a rush.”

Merchant said The Culinary Arts Program at UNA pushed him to be better, and he encourages students to try the program.

Merchant said he enjoys promoting wildlife preservation through the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s annual fundraiser.

According to the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s website, the organization “promote(s) the conservation and wise use of our wildlife and natural resources and to ensure a high quality of life for future generations of Alabamians.”

The Wild Game Cook-Off also sponsors a raffle and silent auction. People who would rather taste test than cook can purchase tickets.

For more information about the Alabama Wildlife Federation, visit For more information about the Culinary Arts Program at UNA, visit