Azerbaijan Chefs Learn About Value of U.S. Beef
USMEF conducted a U.S. beef workshop in Azerbaijan that focused on the value and availability of alternative cuts for the country’s HRI sector. The workshop, held in Baku and attended by several members of the recently-revitalized American Beef Club, was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Some of the most well-known chefs in Baku shared their experiences in preparing less expensive cuts that can be highlighted on restaurant menus in times of economic challenge and uncertainty. Azerbaijan, located on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, is a rapidly-growing country of more than 8 million people, with tremendous growth potential and a bustling hospitality sector.
“The market has a great number of high-end restaurants that cater to tourists, but the restaurateurs in the region all agree that there is both need and desire for interesting and attractive – yet profitable – beef cuts for customers,” said Galina Kochubeeva, USMEF representative in Russia and the surrounding region. “Those in the HRI business are constantly reminded that restaurants ‘weathered the storm’ due to financial struggles in the country. They also are aware that weak oil and gas prices could erode purchasing power and a slowdown in the amount of money available to dine out. Educating them about the alternative cuts of U.S. beef is a very important component of our efforts to increase demand.”
The alternative cuts workshop allowed chefs in the region to share menu ideas for premium beef items (striploin and ribeye), as well as secondary muscle cuts such as top blade, top sirloin butt cap, brisket, hanging tender and short ribs. The chefs discussed ideas for barbecue, Asian cuisine and alternative steaks. Okhtar Mukhtarov, brand chef for the Absheron Hotel Group, introduced the secondary cuts and explained their potential value to Azerbaijan restaurants.
Kochubeeva was pleased with the participation by members of the American Beef Club, an organization that promotes U.S. beef around the region and shares the advantages of cooking with U.S. beef.
The American Beef Club, which had been dormant for nearly a decade, revived its website to provide information on where to buy U.S. beef, as well as how to handle, fabricate and cook the product.