More than 30 chefs and restaurateurs from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, recently traveled to Vung Tau Island, a resort area in the southern part of the country, to participate in a “meat and potatoes” seminar. The two-day event, which focused on the preparation and usage of U.S. beef as well as U.S. potatoes, was conducted with support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the U.S. Potato Board (USPB).
To kick off the seminar, an introduction to USMEF and the U.S. Potato Board was given by Dwight Wilder, agricultural attaché at the U.S consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. USMEF ASEAN Director Sabrina Yin introduced participants to the U.S. beef grading system and provided a cutting demonstration featuring beef inside round, chuck roll and top blade.
“This ‘meat and potatoes’ seminar is a really fun way to connect with leading chefs in Vietnam about the quality and versatility of U.S. beef,” said Yin. “Of course, meat and potatoes are a traditional mealtime combination, but this is a unique opportunity to inform and educate about these top-quality U.S. products while putting a Vietnamese spin on traditional American dishes.”
USMEF and the USPB also teamed up to host a cooking demonstration and tasting with a Vietnamese twist. USMEF Regional Chef Chang Yi Ping created a deep-fried U.S. beef inside round rolled with basil and mint paste accompanied by U.S. potato wedges.
USPB Chef Norbert Ehrbar created a Vietnamese-style shepherd’s pie featuring braised U.S. chuck roll.
On the second day of the seminar, participants were treated to a session called “The Great American Hamburger,” where topics included the different cuts of beef used to make hamburgers and how to properly and safely prepare and handle ground beef. A brief discussion was also held regarding U.S. lamb, though it is not currently eligible for Vietnam.
To wrap up the session, the chefs were given an opportunity to break down several of the meat cuts discussed during the seminar. Chefs were then separated into teams and given an hour to put their cooking skills to the test, preparing an appetizer and main course featuring U.S. beef and potatoes.
“This type of hands-on education is the best way to connect to chefs around the world about the quality of U.S. beef,” Yin said. “It is exciting to see seminars like these succeed in countries like Vietnam where we see potential for export growth in exports of both U.S. beef.”
Seminar participants said they were impressed with the quality of U.S. beef, as well as with the wide variety of potatoes, with several expressing interest in featuring more U.S. items on their restaurant menus.