Although racked by politically motivated violence and widespread flooding, Thailand is showing indications of economic recovery and rebounding tourism. With those positive signs, USMEF’s ASEAN team returned to the region recently to provide training and education on U.S. beef to a group of chefs from top international hotels with funding support from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) as well as the Beef Checkoff program.
Led by Sabrina Yin, USMEF’s ASEAN director, the intensive two-day training program covered a broad range of topics of importance to the food service audience that included 10 chefs from top Bangkok hotels, one from the seaside resort of Pattaya and one from top U.S. beef importer Gourmet One.
“The last two years have not been conducive to working effectively in Thailand,” said Yin. “But with the improvement in the economy, the timing is right to work with those top chefs who are the first to see the tourists and business travelers who expect and appreciate higher-quality products like U.S. beef.”
The program included information on the different cuts and specifications of U.S. beef, the difference between grain-fed and grass-fed beef, and background on proper storage and handling of chilled and frozen meat.
Cutting and cooking demonstrations were done on a range of U.S. cuts including beef top blade muscle, short plate, boneless chuck short ribs, chuck tender and prime grade chuck flap tail.
“There is a range of business skills and knowledge among the attendees, so we provide foodservice-related modules to help them market and sell more U.S. beef products,” said Yin.
Using technology to increase the chefs’ effectiveness also was addressed in the seminar. USMEF introduced various culinary websites as well as software programs such as U.S. beef profit planner and U.S. beef portion control. In addition, the seminar included a food service management module that addressed sanitation practices.
“An important focus of this seminar was to help chefs understand the alternative cuts available that can work well in their menus,” said Yin. “Many remain focused on the prime cuts, but importers like Gourmet One are planning to increase their range of cuts.”