Nebraska agricultural leaders recently hosted a team of chefs and other foodservice professionals from the Goodman Group, one of Europe’s leading operators of high-end restaurants. The visiting delegation was from Goodman’s London division, which operates 10 locations – four traditional steakhouses and six Burger & Lobster restaurants – that feature grain-fed U.S. beef items on their menus. Goodman also has steakhouse locations in Zurich and St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the company plans to open its first U.S. location – a Burger & Lobster restaurant in New York City – later this year.
This was the fifth consecutive year Goodman has sent a team to Nebraska, where they are hosted by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. One of the farming operations the team regularly visits is that of USMEF Chairman Mark Jagels, who feeds cattle and raises corn and soybeans near Davenport, Nebraska.
“Goodman brings its chefs and managers here to see firsthand where the beef they serve comes from,” Jagels said. “From the cow-calf operation and feedlot, to the farms where feedgrain is produced, all the way through the packer and exporter – they get to experience the entire production chain.”
Jagels explained that the Goodman team’s visit is a great example of the type of outreach that helps the U.S. industry overcome misperceptions about U.S. beef production.
“One of the team members said to me, ‘sometimes the notion exists out there that the U.S. keeps the best and exports the rest, and now we can see firsthand that this just isn’t true,’” he said. “They definitely got a deeper understanding of the care that we take to provide our overseas customers with the highest-quality product possible, and it’s important that we continue this kind of education process.”
Jagels added that the Goodman team’s comments about U.S. beef were similar to those he heard from buyers earlier this year on a visit to Milan, Italy, where he traveled as part of the USMEF Market Education Program.
“European buyers can see that U.S. beef provides their customers with a great dining experience, and can help them grow their business,” he said. “There is really nothing in the market that can compete with it, if we can just overcome some of the barriers that limit our supply.”
In addition to the Jagels farm, the Goodman team also visited other cow-calf and cattle feeding operations in Nebraska, along with the Omaha processing facility operated by USMEF member Greater Omaha Packing Company. They also met with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and toured the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Animal Science Department.
Photos courtesy of Governor Dave Heineman’s office and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
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