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Cook-off in Vietnam Introduces Chefs to the Quality, Versatility of U.S. Pork

U.S. pork loin was the centerpiece of a cooking competition organized by USMEF at the Saigon Professional Chef’s Guild (SPCG) U.S. Food Products Showcase in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The goal of the “U.S. Pork Cook-off,” which was funded by the National Pork Board, was to educate Vietnamese chefs about the quality and availability of U.S. pork and to share valuable information about the U.S. production system. The cook-off featured six separate groups of chefs from the SPCG representing Western, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, along with pastry chefs, young chefs and a food carving category. Using U.S. pork loin, each two-chef team was required to present a two-course main dish, appetizer or soup.

USMEF staff members engage Vietnamese chefs at the “U.S. Pork Event Corner” at the Saigon Professional Chef’s Guild U.S. Food Products Showcase

USMEF staff members engage Vietnamese chefs at the “U.S. Pork Event Corner” at the Saigon Professional Chef’s Guild U.S. Food Products Showcase

The competition’s judges were members of a trade team of Iowa pork producers who were in Vietnam attending the U.S. Food Products Showcase.

“The cook-off was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of U.S. pork and the various applications for pork loin,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the ASEAN region. “For some chefs in Vietnam who took part, it was an introduction to U.S. pork. So we made sure to touch on all of the advantages of U.S. pork compared to competitors’ products. The cook-off proved to be a great way to get everyone involved, not only the chefs who were selected to compete, but also those who tasted the dishes.”

Vietnamese chefs prepare dishes at the U.S. Pork Cook-off in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnamese chefs prepare dishes at the U.S. Pork Cook-off in Ho Chi Minh City

After the cook-off, USMEF hosted a “U.S. Pork Event Corner” that focused on U.S. pork education and sharing information on the product’s many attributes to more than 300 chefs from the SPCG. The interactive session included games, U.S. pork industry videos and a question and answer session.

“The session gave a clear explanation of the quality of U.S pork and food safety, including a discussion of the USDA inspection system,” explained Yin. “The overall goal of the U.S. Pork Event Corner was to give the chefs an understanding of how U.S. pork is produced and the steps it takes from farm to table.”

The videos covered sustainable pork production, animal care practices and processing and fabrication.