After a 20-month long hiatus due to COVID protocols, in-person beef training events returned to Europe in December featuring USMEF expertise and cuisine from Mexico.
USMEF Mexico Executive Chef German Navarrete traveled to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland at the invitation of USMEF Europe representative Yuri Barutkin, to host master classes on U.S. beef preparation for restaurateurs, distributors and social media influencers. The events were designed to highlight the nutrition, versatility and affordability of U.S. beef. USMEF partnered with Reaton in the Baltics and Tender Meat in Poland, with funding support from USDA and the Beef Checkoff Program, to bring about the return of the U.S. Beef Road Show. See video.
“It showed how vast the technical expertise and the culinary expertise of USMEF is,” Barutkin noted. “And we demonstrated that U.S. beef is not just about barbecue, it’s not just about steaks, but that U.S. beef can be applied and used in various ethnic cuisines as well.”
In previous years, USMEF has hosted chefs from the U.S. to showcase U.S. beef preparation. With USMEF’s own Chef Navarrete hosting the training events, the focus turned to making U.S. beef the centerpiece of world flavors, including Mexican cuisine, while keeping affordability in mind.
“We worked with top blade, hanger steak, flank steak, and people were very happy to see that U.S. beef is much more than the ribeye,” Navarrete said. “We worked with those different cuts, and they were very pleased with the results, the consistency of the product, the quality and the flavor.”
The tour did still face strict COVID protocols limiting attendance, which prompted an expansion on the number of events, including the addition of one-on-one training for some of the importers’ most valuable clients.
Restaurants in the Baltics have been hard hit by the loss of tourist business, so events in Riga, Latvia and Vilnius, Lithuania focused on how restaurants can use U.S. beef to serve budget-conscious locals. At the request of participants, Chef Navarrete customized the presentations to highlight how dishes could be prepared both for in-restaurant and delivery dining.
In Warsaw, Poland, the focus expanded to include food journalists and social media influencers who were given a chance to sample a variety of cuts and preparations. In southern Poland, the NaGrillu Academy in Katowice hosted a grilling masterclass that was streamed live on various platforms and viewed by some 10,000 enthusiasts.
“The USA Beef Road Show illustrated USMEF’s commitment to grow restaurant and retail businesses around the world utilizing U.S. beef,” Barutkin said.