About the only thing Paul Gentosi no longer hunts is a recipe for the "perfect marinade"; everything else is fair game, as long as it's legal and edible.
An avid sportsman, Gentosi particularly enjoys treks to Mexico during dove-hunting season--and the cookouts he holds after he gets back with his limit of game.
He tries to keep the freezer well stocked with the fowl that he has bagged.
Those cookouts have become even more popular, he says, since he perfected (actually, he credits his mother) a marinade of fresh herbs, garlic and white wine. "While it's meant for wild game, it's also super for chicken or anything else you barbecue," he says.
"It takes a lot of the 'wild' taste out and makes the meat tender and moist."
The length of time the fowl marinates is critical, he says. "You need at least 12 hours, but 24 is probably even better."
A county native, Gentosi is president of one of the area's oldest building contracting firms, Gentosi Brothers, founded in Costa Mesa by his father and uncle more than 40 years ago. His father, Attilio, is still chairman of the board and, says the son, the family's chief (and most outspoken) food critic.
"My father doesn't cook," he says, "but he enjoys food and he knows food. He doesn't hesitate to let you know when something's not just right."
It was his mother who piqued his interest in cooking: "Like anyone who grew up in an Italian family, some of my earliest memories are of those great aromas coming out of the kitchen.
"It was only natural that I would try it myself, and I really enjoy cooking, although work limits the time I have for it."
Now a resident of Laguna Hills, Gentosi began work for the family company "before I was in high school, digging ditches and other odd jobs."
As he progressed through school, earning his bachelor's degree in industrial technology from Cal State Long Beach, he also progressed in the company, becoming a journeyman carpenter, then a superintendent. In 1980, he was named a vice president and in 1984 assumed the presidency.
PAUL GENTOSI'S MARINADE FOR GAME
12 fresh sage leaves
10 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh Rosemary leaves
Mix all ingredients and let sit for 24 hours before using.