The Certified Angus Beef brand recently hosted a diverse group of chefs from around the country at its Education & Culinary Center in Wooster, Ohio. The Chefs Panel represented a cross-section of restaurateurs, corporate chefs and academia who discussed the past year, exchanged ideas and anticipated trends in the kitchen for 2013.
Here's what they see shaping up for the upper end of foodservice.
13 for '13:
*The Year of the Strip: Showcase the flavorful strip steak instead of those traditional middle-meat favorites, the ribeye and filet.
*Surf & Turf 2.0: Make use of more economical cuts like the ball tip and teres major, paired with seafood options, currently available at lower market prices.
*History Tells Us: Reintroduce guests to alternative cuts of flavorful beef that have been braised and slowly cooked in international cultures for centuries.
*Thinking Globally Local: Use local ingredients to create international dishes. For instance, prepare heirloom rice from North Carolina to create Risotto – a Northern Italian-style rice; or add global ingredients like kimchee juice from fermented veggies to give rice a Korean spin.
*Craft-Driven Programs Take Center-Stage: Implement craft-driven cocktail, cheese, charcuterie, bourbon, cheese and pickle programs, which continue to draw the attention of guests interested in how foods are created.
*Gourmet American Junk and Fair Food: Experiment with high-end nostalgic favorites and Fair Food such as corn dogs, but with lobster meat.
*Broaden Protein Horizons: Add lesser-known cuts of beef like the chuck flap and sirloin flap, and dark-meat chicken to the menu as they become more accepted by American palates.
*Saving on Specials: Turn undervalued cuts, like chuck steaks and chuck short ribs from the chuck roll into creative specials and profit centers.
*Tapas for One: Deliver these bite-sized, finger-food dishes styled after the Spanish tapas, offering a more catered experience for guests to try multiple dishes.
*Refined and Relaxed: Serve in a more casual style and setting but with elevated menu items like artisan sausages or gourmet burgers customers can enjoy without the fuss.
*Tell Stories with Social Media: Incorporate social media to communicate directly with customers, sharing behind-the-scenes stories of product sources, seasonal specials and delivery to the plate.
*Hand-held Neighborhood Butcher: Communicate with customers through smartphones – information previously acquired from the traditional butcher. Chefs will continue to innovatively educate consumers on cuts, preparations and ways to save at home.
*School Customers: Offer more and more educational programming for guests including cooking classes, book clubs with menu pairings and chef exchange events. Guests want to have stories behind dishes to share with friends.
The chefs also took time to experiment with such new cuts of beef as the Vegas Strip, as well as participate in a hands-on butchery session with CAB meat scientist Phil Bass.