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Quails have rather lost favour with chefs in recent years, once the darling of microscopic meals in the days of nouvelle cuisine it has given way to pigeon as the bird of choice for starters and tasting plates.


Quail is classed as poultry although it was originally a game bird, which could be found across the globe. The quail that we eat is Japanese quail because the British common quail is now a protected species.

The vast majority of quail available to the consumer is boneless, prepared and usually frozen. Chefs use them because of their size and relative ease to cook; they can be stuffed, look attractive on the plate and replace other more expensive game birds.

I must admit that it was only recently that I discovered that quail was intensively farmed in Britain and under conditions akin to that of the cheapest chickens. I can only assume that many of these birds end up on the plates of overseas restaurants along with their eggs, as there doesn’t seem to be the demand for so many.

Because of this I shall refrain from using them unless I have a guarantee of their source and, ultimately their quality of life prior to reaching the kitchen.

Content and picture © Miles Collins