More than 450 culinary students, chef instructors and restaurant operators were met with the beef checkoff message at the 2015 Northeast and Southeast American Culinary Federation Conference in Baltimore on Feb. 15-17, thanks to a gold sponsorship from the checkoff's Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative in coordination with the Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina beef councils and the North American Meat Institute.
Participants in a "Meet the Farmer" Twitter party on Sunday, Feb. 15 followed the #ChefConnect hashtag to join the conversation. Local cattle farmers and various checkoff organizations participated in the dialogue, which created about 200,000 impressions on Twitter.
At the expo breakout booths on Feb. 16, conference participants met local cattle farmers for a deeper question-and-answer session. Mike Brannon, vice president of Old Line Custom Meat Company and cattleman, as well as Dr. Scott Barao, executive director of the Jorgensen Family Foundation and the Maryland Beef Council and manager of the Angus herd at Hedge Apple Farms in Buckeystown, Md., engaged with the foodservice professionals.
"The Twitter party was a unique and exciting opportunity to engage chefs and other food professionals in a real-time discussion about beef and how it makes its way from pasture to plate," Barao said. "Many questions were answered and many myths about beef were 'busted' in the span of one short hour.
The checkoff also hosted three educational sessions: "Power up your Menu with Beef" was presented by checkoff Executive Chef Dave Zino, who demonstrated the versatility of middle meats and outlined opportunities for foodservice operators to enhance their menus with mainstay steaks.
During the "Discover Veal" session, Chef Dan D'Angelo, CEC, AAC, culinary instructor at the Philadelphia Art Institute and president of the Philadelphia ACF Chapter, demonstrated three of the checkoff's new veal foodservice recipes developed by the checkoff.
Chef Chris Edwards, Chef de Cuisine, at the Salamander Resort in Middlebury, Va., presented the final session, "Savor the Synergy of Pairing Beef & Wine". Three beef dishes were paired with three local wines, donated by the Virginia Wine Board, during which participants also tasted and sampled each pairing.