More than 30 executive chefs and owners of two dozen restaurant chains in Hong Kong participated in a USMEF “Cookism” chef club event designed to encourage greater use of U.S. pork and beef. The event, funded by the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), was divided into four parts: restaurant visits, a U.S. red meat industry overview, cooking demonstrations and a visit to a meat processing plant.
“We invited both old and new restaurant clients in Hong Kong so they could share ideas and information about U.S. products,” said Rachel Deng, USMEF representative in Hong Kong. “Similar to the U.S., consumers in Hong Kong are looking for fast, fashionable food, but they are also concerned about healthy food. Our goal for this event was to share concepts – such as lunch boxes and new meat dishes – featuring economical U.S. pork and beef cuts.”
On the restaurant visits, participants sampled high-quality, economically priced pork and beef items.
“Those attending the event were very interested in how to prepare ready-to-cook products or products they can easily reheat at home but still maintain good quality,” explained Deng.
The cooking demonstration included three beef items – top blade, flank and outside skirt – and two pork items, hock and belly. Deng said this session was the most popular part of the whole event, as many guests asked for recipes and expressed plans to develop new dishes in their restaurants.
Because a majority of the participants were attending their first USMEF event, the introduction to the U.S. pork and beef industries and an overview of USMEF’s role were also well-received.
“Explaining all the tools USMEF offers, as well as laying out the basics of U.S. meat production, instilled confidence about the quality and safety of U.S. products for the Hong Kong market,” Deng said. “We also introduced popular U.S. pork items available in the region, mainly focusing on the products that deliver value for the restaurants.”