Chef Marcus Iten demonstrates U.S. beef preparation techniques at the recent USMEF seminar in Luxor, Egypt.
Tourists travel thousands of miles to see one of the world’s most treasured destinations – the historic Egyptian city of Luxor, famed for its pyramids and temples. When the tourists arrive, chefs at the finest hotels want to serve them meals befitting the occasion. Enter grain-fed U.S. beef.
Educating Luxor’s chefs and purchasing managers about the quality and benefits of incorporating different cuts of U.S. beef into their menus was the goal of an educational program the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) conducted for about 30 five-star hotel staff in collaboration with the Egyptian Chefs Association with support from the Beef Checkoff Program.
Led by chef Marcus Iten, president of the Egyptian Chefs Association, the full-day seminar provided menu planning and preparation tips on a range of U.S. beef cuts including ribeye, striploin, tenderloin and shank.
"A key for these chefs and purchasing managers is demonstrating how to maximize the profitability of using specific U.S. beef cuts," said Amr Abd El Gliel, USMEF representative in Egypt. He noted that special attention was given to the shank cut, recently introduced to the Egyptian market.
"Chef Iten showed the chefs how they could create high-quality and cost-effective dishes," said Amr. "Mixing the trimmings of prime cuts with the shank cut to produce delicious international plates such as meatballs, burgers and meatloaf was the buzzing success of the event."
While Egypt is the fourth-largest export market for U.S. beef, most of that demand historically has been driven by the variety meat market. Egypt is the leading international market for U.S. beef variety meat, including livers. In 2013, Egypt alone purchased 38 percent of all U.S. beef variety meat exports by volume, and variety meat accounted for 87 percent of total beef exports to that nation.
"Our outreach to luxury tourist destinations like Luxor is designed to tap into a niche market where there will be demand for different beef cuts as well as high-end menu items," said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for global marketing and communications.
"Chefs in Egypt traditionally pan-fry and overcook beef because they are accustomed to dealing with lower quality cuts from suppliers where the quality and safety is not consistent," Halstrom said. "Educating them on U.S. beef, and how it can be deliciously and safely prepared without overcooking, is an important step toward winning these chefs as converts."
The U.S. beef workshop took place at Jolie Ville Kings Valley Resort Luxor. USMEF utilized social media channels to attract the chefs who represented a variety of five-star hotels and a Nile River cruise line.
In addition to demonstrating a number of easy-to-prepare beef recipes, chef Markus also provided background on U.S. beef production practices, inspection, safety standards, product handling and storage, quality and marbling criteria.
After his presentation, the chefs were divided into teams. Each was challenged to prepare different recipes using the U.S. beef cuts given to them, followed by a tasting session.
At the conclusion of the program, USMEF regional staff provided the hotel participants with details regarding the cost and availability of various U.S. beef cuts from local distributors.
"The chefs were very impressed by the tenderness and taste of U.S. beef," said Hani Mostfa, USMEF representative in Egypt who organized the program. "We already have requests for additional training courses on other beef cuts as well as mutton and veal."
Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation