Growing interest in beef liver and the rising popularity of beef burgers were behind recent USMEF promotions in Russia and the Surrounding Region. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, February activities included sponsoring a “Chefs Battle” competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan and organizing the “Real American Burger Festival” in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Chefs Battle attracted professional from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The first round featured 24 chefs preparing two dishes with U.S. beef liver – an appetizer or salad and a main course. Twelve advanced to the final round, where they were given U.S. beef alternative cuts – top sirloin butt cap and New York strip – to prepare and cook.
USMEF chef John Cadieux led a panel of judges, which included Fernando Rey, the top chef at Little Brazil restaurant in Almaty. Rey also conducted a cutting and cooking demonstration on U.S. beef picanha prior to the final round. Later, an awards reception was held at a local restaurant that served participants grilled U.S. beef flanks, skirts and flat iron.
The “Real American Burger Festival” was held at four restaurants operated by the BEAT Group chain in Baku, Azerbaijan. USMEF promoted U.S. beef attributes and introduced burger recipes and concepts.