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U.S. Beef Takes High Profile at Major Culinary Events in the Middle East

Published: Jul 25, 2023

U.S. beef quality and affordable underutilized cuts were promoted to buyers and chefs at workshops, shows and competitions.

With tourism returning to pre-pandemic levels in the Middle East, USMEF targeted importers, buyers and chefs at leading culinary events in the region. U.S. beef training workshops were also conducted to demonstrate the viability of high-quality U.S. beef during times of inflation and rising input costs ‒ with a particular focus on underutilized cuts.

A series of three regional training workshops for more than 200 chefs, importers, distributors and retailers began in Dubai in collaboration with USDA’s Office of Agricultural Affairs and the Emirates Culinary Guild. USMEF Corporate Chef German Navarrete demonstrated how grain-fed U.S. beef provides a premium flavor profile, even for more affordable, underutilized cuts. Navarrete conducted cutting and tasting demonstrations of four underutilized cuts that have great potential for foodservice in the region — flank, short loin, brisket and hanging tender.

U.S. beef was also a major sponsor at Expo Culinaire 2023 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, an annual three-day event for the foodservice industry. ExpoCulinaire is the established home of The Emirates International Salon Culinaire - the largest and most prestigious culinary competition in the Middle East. The show featured various cooking competitions where chefs worked exclusively with U.S. beef.

USMEF also featured U.S. beef through sponsorship and participation in two other major culinary competitions in Dubai the Best Steakhouse Award and the Chef Excellence Awards.

“Buyers and chefs are familiar with U.S. middle meats,” says USMEF representative Bassam Bousaleh, “but they are not as knowledgeable about the quality and value of underutilized U.S. cuts. Our participation at these events helped them consider a broader range of high-quality U.S. cuts.”

Funding for the activities was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program, Texas Beef Council and USDA’s Market Access Program.

USMEF conducted three U.S. beef training workshops for chefs and buyers in Dubai, UAE; Doha, Qatar; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.