USMEF partnered with the Association of Uzbekistan Chefs to conduct an educational master class on U.S. beef for Uzbekistan chefs and other foodservice professionals. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, the class was part of an ongoing effort to familiarize Uzbekistan with U.S. beef and encourage restaurant owners and managers to include it on their menus.
An additional goal of this particular master class was to pave the way for U.S. beef to select retailers in the capital city of Tashkent, explained Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in Russia and the surrounding region.
“Generally, Uzbekistan consumers are big meat eaters of beef, chicken and lamb,” said Barutkin. “However, most of the domestic beef is derived from dairy cattle produced in small backyard farms, so finding beef of sufficient quality and consistency is a challenge for Uzbekistan restaurants. While U.S. ribeye is already a regular menu item at many Tashkent restaurants and has earned a solid reputation, the focus of this USMEF class was on alternative cuts of U.S. beef.”
USMEF used brisket, shoulder clod and top sirloin to demonstrate the value of alternative U.S. beef cuts can deliver for family-style restaurants and their advantages compared to domestic Uzbek beef. One premium cut – striploin – was also presented to the class of about 60 chefs.
Chef Serge Fery from the five-star Astoria Hotel in St. Petersburg, led the Master Class. Fery is an alumnus of Texas Beef Council courses and knows a great deal about U.S. beef.
The educational portion of the event was followed by a dinner organized by a U.S. beef importer in the region. The dinner attracted local media attention and special guests included Pamela Spratlen, U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and Elizabeth Leonardi, U.S. agricultural attaché in Turkey.
Ambassador Spratlen addressed the audience and emphasized the importance of establishing a trade relationship between the U.S. and Uzbekistan.
“We received a lot of questions about U.S. beef production, about ways to use various cuts and about the availability of U.S. beef suppliers serving Uzbekistan,” said Barutkin. “Uzbekistan remains a challenging market, but U.S. beef is slowly making its way to the tables of many Tashkent restaurants. We hope that in 2017, with U.S. beef prices being more competitive and with the Uzbekistan economy recovering from the economic turmoil of the past two years, we may see growth in sales of U.S. beef, especially alternative cuts.”