A dozen top chefs from Bali and Jakarta enjoyed an intensive USMEF two-day training program last week, sampling a wide array of cuts to help them incorporate the items into their menus.
The program introduced several underutilized U.S. red meat cuts to chefs who are long-time fans of American beef to expand their understanding of the quality and flavor of the cuts so they can create new featured items for their customers. Funding for the training program was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Chef and restaurant chain owner Ridwan Kumala, who operates the Carnivor Barbecue Specialist and Kimchi Grandma restaurants in Jakarta, already buys more than two tons of U.S. beef short plate each month, but he came away inspired.
“Chef Kumala and his staff typically use the short plate sliced thin and grilled,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN director, who led the training. “But he was amazed by the taste of roast short plate, which inspired him to go back and create new menu items.”
The training session was cohosted by importers CV Megah Food Trading Bali and sister company CV Libra Foodservice in Jakarta. The first day of the program focused on U.S. beef specifications, different cuts and storage and handling of chilled and frozen product.
|U.S. beef top blade muscle, short plate, chuck tender, chuck roll, chuck flap tail and chuck short ribs were included in the cutting and cooking demonstration. Participants also had the opportunity to sample dishes including roast short plate and chuck tender carpaccio.
In the evening, USMEF brought the seminar participants on a retail visit to Meidi-Ya supermarket to view the wide variety of meat products available in Singapore including U.S. beef . The day concluded with dinner at Tomo Izakaya, a popular Japanese restaurant that serves U.S. beef in both traditional and modern Japanese styles. Yin also introduced U.S. beef rib fingers cooked in barbecue sauce and curry style, demonstrating for participants how to prepare the products for the different cooking styles.
“We want to support our loyal U.S. meat importers in Indonesia,” said Yin. “While there are current market barriers, this will help pave the way for more U.S. beef purchases when the market opens. There is a great demand for imported beef to offset the inadequate local production.”
Although priced higher than competitive products, American beef is sold in many middle- to high-end restaurants and hotels in the region because of its quality.
“We had several chefs from Bali say they would like to see greater availability of U.S. beef products,” Yin said.
At its 2011 peak, Indonesia was a top 10 market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports, totaling 17,847 metric tons valued at $28.2 million. Trade barriers reduced that significantly in 2012 and most of 2013, although it rebounded late in 2013 to post a 99 percent increase over 2012 to 2,046 metric tons valued at $13 million, a 66 percent hike.