Educating consumers and foodservice operators in the Middle East about the quality and flavor of U.S. beef was the focus of USMEF activities recently held in Jordan and Lebanon. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, these activities included a U.S. beef grilling and carving event, a workshop for female chefs and participation in the HORECA hospitality show. USMEF is a contractor of the beef checkoff.
Jordan’s ‘Discover America’ Launched with U.S. Beef Event
Selected as the launching point for the first-ever “Discover America” week in Jordan, the Carve and Grill culinary event at the Amman Rotana Hotel promoted seven primary and alternative cuts of U.S. beef. The event was held in collaboration with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in Cairo and the U.S. Embassy in Amman.
“This event offered Jordanian trade officials and regional foodservice industry leaders a great opportunity to experience the unique attributes of U.S. beef,” said Lina Kanaan, USMEF representative in the Middle East. “USMEF pulled off an exclusive and masterful event that put a positive light on the U.S. meat industry and raised the profile of U.S. beef suppliers in the eyes of trading partners and professional hospitality gurus in Jordan.”
Evidence of the positive impact of the event could be found on the many positive comments and words of appreciation that were posted on social media platforms. One example is the post and video prepared by Jerome Sherman, deputy press attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. The video can be found online.
Chefs at the Amman Rotana Hotel and the food and beverage team of the hotel’s Three Sixty Restaurant prepared dishes including U.S. slow-braised pulled beef brisket, U.S. black Angus short ribs and slow-cooked U.S. flat iron. In addition, U.S. beef ribeye, striploin, tenderloin and flank were displayed and prepared for grilling. Black Angus beef patties prepared from chuck and brisket were also grilled and served as sliders.
Before serving commenced, Kanaan emphasized the cooperation between USMEF, USDA/FAS and the U.S. Embassy to support buyers and to keep momentum for U.S. beef moving forward. A keynote speech by Mariano Beillard, senior agricultural attaché at USDA/FAS Cairo, followed.
Beillard talked about numerous export opportunities and the trading cooperation between Jordanian importers and U.S. exporters. He also commended the effective U.S. red meat marketing role that USMEF plays in the region.
Jordanian Ladies Cooking Club Introduced to U.S. Beef
USMEF teamed with the Jordanian Chefs Association (JCA) to conduct a U.S. beef workshop for 68 Jordanian women who are homemakers and amateur chefs.
Kanaan said JCA president Chef Khalid Abu Eid realized the importance of educating Jordanian women joining the organization and requested training support from USMEF, which viewed it as an opportunity to promote chilled and frozen U.S. beef cuts to Jordanian Ladies Cooking Club (JLCC) members who have very limited knowledge about the product.
Using the auditorium and kitchen facilities of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, JLCC members gathered to learn about U.S. beef and to practice proper techniques in trimming and preparing a sub-primal cut of U.S. beef. In all, they cut and cooked four different U.S. beef cuts.
Kanaan presented an overview about U.S. beef production and explained underutilized U.S. beef cuts add quality and variety to restaurant menus at affordable prices.
Chef Lubna Alamat and Chef Ziad Muashar discussed a wide array of U.S. beef cuts and conducted interactive cutting and cooking demonstrations focusing on U.S. tenderloin, ribeye, striploin and tri-tip.
HORECA Showcases U.S. Beef for Growing Hospitality Industry in Lebanon
USMEF promoted the quality, flavor and tenderness of U.S. beef to more than 18,000 trade and culinary professionals at the 2018 HORECA hospitality show in Beirut, Lebanon. The promotion included displays and demonstrations of bone-in tomahawk ribeye, boneless ribeye, short ribs, short loin, chuck shoulder clod, top round, tenderloin and striploin of USDA Choice, USDA Prime Angus and Certified Angus Beef®.
Lebanon’s HORECA – a name derived from the words Hotel, Restaurant and Café – celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. It is considered one of the most important food trade shows not only in Lebanon but in the entire Middle East region, attracting foodservice suppliers as well as businesses involved in packaging, machinery, restaurant payment technologies and kitchen equipment.
“By participating in HORECA Lebanon, USMEF reached many professionals who make decisions about purchasing meat and other foods for those in the country’s growing tourism industry,” Kanaan explained. “This year we put new and traditional U.S. beef products to the forefront and showcased U.S. beef very prominently.”
USMEF representatives answered questions about U.S. beef and took advantage of networking opportunities to educate visitors about the specific quality attributes of several beef cuts. They also shared information with the region’s food experts participating in forums and workshops that ran parallel to the show.
Kanaan said nearly 100 chefs, food distributors, meat processors, caterers, foodservice operators and retailers requested one-on-one meetings with USMEF representatives to discuss information related to cattle breeding and genetics, grading levels and export and import regulations.
“Interest in underutilized U.S. beef cuts – especially the chuck eye roll, brisket, flank and top sirloin butt – was very prevalent,” said Kanaan. “There were also inquiries for U.S. veal back strip and tenderloin.”