USMEF partnered with Potatoes USA to host a U.S. Meat and Potatoes Culinary Workshop in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. The workshop introduced Vietnamese foodservice decision makers to cuts of U.S. beef and pork that can be paired with U.S. potatoes to create new menu items. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff, the event attracted nearly 50 chefs, purchasing officers and restaurant operators.
“We selected Phu Quoc because it is one of the up-and-coming island destinations for tourists in Vietnam, with upscale and economically priced hotels for both local and international visitors,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF director in the ASEAN. “Participants included not only chefs and restaurant managers, but also importers and representatives of large food companies in the area that sent sales staff.”
The day-long workshop began with an introduction by Dang Nga Thi Phuong of Potatoes USA. Chef Norbert Ehrbar followed with a session on proper handling of frozen potatoes and deep fryer equipment maintenance.
USMEF representative Nguyen Dang Minh presented an overview of USMEF and discussed the Vietnamese market. Yin continued the session by explaining the U.S. beef and pork industries, USDA grading systems, proper handling of U.S. red meat products and specifications of U.S. beef and pork cuts.
A cooking demonstration by Yin and Norbert featured several types of potatoes paired with U.S. pork loin and spare ribs, and U.S. beef boneless short ribs and brisket. Samples of the dishes were served to participants at a barbecue dinner event.
USMEF also conducted a session titled “How to Conduct Successful Promotion with U.S. Meat.” The session outlined the many ways USMEF can further assist businesses launch promotional campaigns on U.S. beef and pork cuts highlighted in the workshop.
“USMEF and Potatoes USA have achieved good teamwork in this region and we will continue to work together in these kinds of activities,” said Yin. “A big takeaway from this event is the power of sharing information about U.S. beef and pork. The chefs and restaurant operators from Phu Quoc were able to gather new ideas for menu items and also taste the dishes for themselves. They will now go back and share what they learned. That kind of ‘pass-along’ promotion is what we aim for.”