Creating interest in U.S. beef in the Middle East’s growing HRI sector, USMEF sponsored a live cooking competition at Hospitality Qatar 2016, a professional networking platform for the Gulf Region’s food buyers and suppliers. USMEF’s competition – which took place during the Salon Culinaire portion of the trade show and featured 25 chefs preparing U.S. beef tenderloin and T-bone cuts – was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.
“We see Qatar as a key strategic market and therefore consider Hospitality Qatar to be the perfect venue for us to create better awareness of the quality, safety and value of our products,” said Bassam Bousaleh, USMEF representative in Qatar. “By taking part in the Salon Culinaire activity, USMEF gained greater visibility among the hospitality industry in Qatar. More specifically, having the chefs use U.S. beef in the live cooking competition helped create awareness of our product’s quality and taste.”
According to USMEF Representative Hassan Taleb, who helped coordinate the live cooking demonstration, Salon Culinaire featured 16 other categories, such as “chocolate showpiece,” “novelty cake” and “five course set menu.” International and regional juries supervised the competition in coordination with representatives from Qatar Culinary Professionals and World Association of Chefs Societies. About 300 chefs from various hotels and restaurants participated.
Held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, Hospitality Qatar was also important for U.S. beef from a competitive standpoint. Exhibitors from China, Germany and a host of other countries showcased a variety of food products. Activities and workshops offered USMEF the opportunity to highlight U.S. beef and share information about the attributes and availability of the product.
USMEF showed a promotional video at a “Chefs Table Gathering” prior to the cooking competition. The video explained to the large audience of chefs and food and beverage personnel the role and mission of USMEF in promoting U.S. beef. A brochure entitled “U.S. Beef: Irresistibly Flavorful” was distributed to participants and contained information about the U.S. beef industry and several tips for beef preparation.
USMEF recognizes the potential of Qatar’s tourism draw. Prior to Qatar Hospitality 2016, it was announced that Qatar’s hospitality industry expects to receive more than $40 billion worth of investment over the next 15 years. The money will go towards construction of 105 new hotels and create more than 20,000 new hotel rooms. In 2014, the Qatar Tourism Authority said its goal was to attract more than 7 million tourists annually by 2030.
“Obviously, for U.S. beef the positive aspect of these plans is that those new hotels are going to include restaurants, and tourists who come to Qatar are going to want to have the option of dining on U.S. beef,” said Bousaleh.