In an effort to promote U.S. beef and increase sales in Greater Russia, USMEF recently teamed with the Texas Beef Council to provide education and training sessions for chefs and red meat buyers from six countries in the region. Funding support for the project was provided by the Texas Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
The four-day program in Texas featured leading chefs and buyers from markets that currently have the most potential for U.S. beef: Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Participants in the training were not new to U.S. beef, but have displayed a desire to learn more about the many potential uses for the diverse and high-quality product, explained Galina Kochubeeva, USMEF representative in Greater Russia.
“These are culinary experts who are working with U.S. beef and are interested in learning more about unique features of the product,” said Kochubeeva, who led the team on the visit to Texas. “They would like to introduce new beef cuts and bring fresh ideas and cooking methods into their restaurants.”
Included in the training was “Beef 101,” an educational program that provides a general overview of the U.S. Beef industry. As part of the program, Chef Jay McCarthy demonstrated fabrication and utilization of high value and low cost U.S. beef cuts — shoulder clod, chuck roll, top sirloin butt, tri tips, brisket and short ribs. There was also barbecue pit training, tips on generating menus featuring U.S. beef and a lesson on the basics of U.S. beef brisket.
Other topics addressed with the Greater Russia team were cattle feeding practices, beef safety and quality control, quality grading and branded programs. The team was given a carcass overview at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and participated in practice workshops at the Texas Beef Council headquarters in Austin, where the chefs and buyers were given new ideas for menu planning and meal preparation.
Upon completion of the training, team members were awarded with a graduation certificate from the Texas Beef Council. They also had an opportunity to discuss additional beef industry trends and issues with Executive Vice President Richard Wortham and Senior Manager of Beef Quality and Exports Jason Bagley.
The team visited Langford Cattle Company, where it met with owner Bodey Langford. They also toured the JBS plant in Cactus, Texas, and JBS Hartley Feeders to learn about the important role cattle feeding practices play in ensuring beef quality and consistency.
The chefs and buyers made a stop at the Rudy’s BBQ chain to get a taste of barbecue and introduce themselves to new ideas for U.S. beef. Texas-style culinary trends were also demonstrated to them at the Salt Grass Steakhouse.
“We visited Whole Foods to let the team discover aged beef and see a wide variety of the meat items that are available at retail on the regular basis here in the U.S.,” said Kochubeeva. “Knowledge of U.S. marbled beef will help the team members to introduce new secondary cuts in menus and meet mounting needs of the restaurant guests and consumers back in their countries.”