When it comes to Caribbean resort destinations, the one travelers are increasingly turning to is Atlantis, located on Paradise Island, Bahamas. Along with the Caribbean’s largest casino and many other tourist attractions, Atlantis features 21 restaurants and 19 bars and lounges, offering everything from fine dining to casual barbecue to quick-and-easy takeout favorites.
USMEF Caribbean representative Elizabeth Wunderlich addresses chefs and other culinary staff at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas
And when Kerzner International, the parent company of Atlantis, needed counsel on giving its guests an outstanding dining experience, it turned to USMEF for training on the selection, handling and preparation of U.S. beef cuts. Support for the training seminar was provided by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Beef Checkoff Program.
Atlantis, Paradise Island operates eight renowned fine dining establishments in addition to poolside dining, all-you-can-eat buffets and family-style eateries. The staff from these restaurants – more than 90 Atlantis chefs and foodservice managers – were in attendance as USMEF Caribbean representative Elizabeth Wunderlich covered everything from “The Ten Sins of Handling Meat” to attributes of the U.S. meat production system that help ensure customers receive a quality, consistent product. She also introduced the group to beef value cuts that can add variety and versatility to restaurant menus.
“Liz really did an amazing job of educating our staff on a wide variety of beef cuts,” said Mark Percival, vice president of culinary operations at Atlantis, Paradise Island. “She outlined the factors that determine meat quality and showed us the science behind production, preparation and marketing. This is exactly the kind of training we need to ensure that guests receive the kind of enjoyment and satisfaction they expect from us.”
“There are so many mistakes that can negatively impact meat palatability at the restaurant level, such as improper thawing, freezing, smashing, stacking, grill temperature, poking, browning, slicing, rinsing and over-seasoning,” said Wunderlich in her “Ten Sins” presentation. “Small errors in any of these areas can mean the difference between a satisfied guest who is going to return year after year, and a disgruntled diner who won’t be back. It’s just very critical to make sure your staff not only understands this, but knows how to prevent these mistakes from happening.”
USMEF also held a tasting demonstration showcasing versatile beef cuts such as brisket and top sirloin butt. With the popularity of barbecue growing rapidly in the region, “low and slow” cooking methods were emphasized and the results were very well-received by attendees.
While Kerzner International was extremely pleased with the training its staff received, the seminar also delivered significant benefits for the U.S. beef industries.
“Atlantis is the largest and most prestigious resort in the Bahamas, and it single-handedly pushed the Bahamas into a spot among the leading Caribbean markets for beef muscle cuts,” Wunderlich said. “Atlantis is absolutely viewed as the highest-visibility trendsetter in the region, hosting countless events that are publicized – and even televised – throughout the world. So by helping Atlantis achieve greater success with U.S. beef cuts, USMEF is cultivating a relationship that will expand our products’ presence in the region many times over.”
In 2011, U.S. beef exports to the Bahamas were steady with the previous year, totaling 4,353 metric tons (9.6 million pounds) valued at $20.2 million.