Recognizing opportunities in the Jordanian hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector, USMEF organized the first “U.S. Beef Culinary Initiative for Chefs” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman. Held in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and the Kaylani Food Center, the event received funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
More than 65 executive chefs, general managers, food directors and purchasing managers participated, along with a number of food bloggers and media representatives. Also in attendance were U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice G. Wells, U.S. Economic Attaché Brian Grimm, Senior Agricultural Attaché Orestes Vasquez and Senior Agricultural Specialist Mohamed Khraishy.
Guests received an information folder that included chef booklets, beef production CDs and cutting guides. A selection of U.S. beef delicacies was served as a way to present the exceptional versatility of U.S. beef alternative cuts.
The program commenced with an introduction by USMEF representative Lina Kanaan, followed by opening remarks given by Ambassador Wells. Attendees then watched a short documentary film about U.S. beef production and grading, followed by an overview of the U.S. beef industry and USMEF’s role and services.
In a classroom-style setting, participants learned more about U.S. beef production practices and acquired hands-on experience and practical exposure to various grades and types of U.S. beef – with a special focus on alternative cuts.
A U.S. beef product showcase of new cuts was handled by Master Butcher Chef Mahmoud Abu Tahnat, who presented four underutilized beef cuts – specifically top butt sirloin, flat iron/oyster blade/top blade, brisket and flap. He demonstrated the proper techniques of muscle profiling the cuts and the most appropriate cooking methods for each.
USMEF also launched chilled U.S. lamb at the event, presented to the audience in three cuts: rack, leg and shoulder.
“U.S. lamb was breakthrough news at this event,” said Kanaan. “U.S. leg of lamb was prepared in the most popular traditional Jordanian dish – ‘Mansaf’ – in addition to the carving station where rack of lamb and the five U.S. beef cuts were served.”
Following a question and answer session, Four Seasons Hotel Executive Chef Chuck Kazmer described the menu and introduced attendees to the various U.S. beef and lamb recipes prepared. He talked about how each cut was used within each recipe, then escorted Ambassador Wells and Kanaan on a tour of the buffet. Later guests participated in a dinner prepared from the U.S. beef cuts showcased at the presentation.
The event resulted in excellent media coverage, including an article in the popular Layaline magazine, a feature in the online Jordanian newspaper Alwakeel News, posting on the website and Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and appearances on several other social media platforms.
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