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Aussie Meat Trends

Keeping it Fresh: Spring Side Dishes

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Whether you're talking about new ideas or the verdant produce that's just starting to make its debut, spring is the season for freshness.

This month's Featured Chef, Brad Farmerie of New York City’s PUBLIC and Saxon + Parole, is all about cooking the unexpected to help his diners gain a new perspective at the table. We asked him to share thoughts on the spring side dishes he’d prepare with grass-fed red meats. With his infectious energy, Chef Brad had no shortage of fresh suggestions, including:

Pea Tendrils

Also known as pea shoots, these spiraling, delicate young leaves, stems, vines, and flowers of a pea plant are subtly sweet, with a mild bitter aftertaste and a light, nutty crunchiness. Making their debut at the close of winter, they're only available during a few weeks of the year (and their appearance is a sure-fire sign that spring has sprung). Harvested before pea pods have developed, they’re also available earlier in the season than shelled peas. "They offer more body, freshness and acidity," says Farmerie, praising their ability to give a lamb dish more of a salad-like, light feel. Additionally, a pea shoot salsa verde can make a fitting partner for goat, offering a different, complex flavor.

Eggplant

"A bullseye," says Chef Brad, of the pairing of eggplant and grass-fed lamb or goat. During the spring, one way to use this year-round favorite would be to top meat with an eggplant relish, made with roasted eggplant, pickled onions, mint and lime juice, or a combination of eggplant and preserved lemon. Additionally, "eggplant can take on an even richer, meatier flavor when it's enhanced with miso or tahini," says Farmerie, who’s also a fan of Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired flavors. An Australian Lamb Loin with Black Baba Ghanoush (Farmerie's take on the traditional Middle Eastern roasted, peeled and mashed eggplant-and tahini-based spread) is currently on the menu at PUBLIC. Rounding out the dish are Za'atar Roasted Cippolini Onion, Goat’s Milk Feta and Pistachio Vinaigrette.

A Hint of Sweetness

As we’re moving away from winter's rich, savory fare, "there's something about spring that suggests sweetness, whether actual or implied," says Chef Brad. As part of his cooking philosophy, Farmerie likes to stay true to his ingredients, while also challenging diners to push their culinary boundaries. To get there, he often looks to the Middle East (and the influence of his Lebanese grandparents) for inspiration, particularly during the spring. In his repertoire are spices commonly used in Moroccan cuisine, like star anise, cloves and cinnamon. They’re ideal for adding a level of aromatic sweetness to a lamb dish, while keeping things light and seasonally on-point. Farmerie often likes to add a few dried fruits to continue the theme while adding a bit of texture that harmonizes with the texture of the meat.

Greek Chic

(Trends and Recipes) Permanent link

With its tongue-twistingly named traditional dishes (and Americans’ longstanding love affair with Italian food), Greek cuisine has tended to take a back seat to its Mediterranean counterparts. These days, though, a new generation of Hellenic hotspots, such as New York City’s Pylos and San Francisco’s Kokkari Estiatorio, are bringing Greek food firmly into the mainstream.

Consider the broad, front- and back-of-the-house appeal of Greek cuisine, and its popularity seems permanent. Not only is it famously fresh, but it also has something to offer for every diner, from meat lovers to fish fans.

Renowned for its simplicity, Greek food also falls neatly in line with a host of other major dining trends, from the popularity of the Mediterranean diet to the recent comfort food revolution. It can be served everywhere, from food trucks to tony tavernas, and easily lends itself to small-plate and family-style menus. In the kitchen, even the most traditional dishes leave plenty of room for innovation. And, once you get past some of the tongue-twisting nomenclature, Greek offers a level of approachability that can easily engage diners eager to try it at home.

The Protein

When it comes to meat in Greek cuisine, lamb is king, and these days, many restaurant offerings are going well beyond the classic lamb chop. Proven to have a more mild, fresh character, various cuts of Australian Lamb can be used for many popular Greek lamb dishes, including: 

Kefthedes
Small ground lamb meatballs seasoned with mint and oregano and baked in tomato sauce. Often presented meze (small plate) style, with tzatziki (yogurt sauce), or over steamed rice or fried potatoes.
Kleftiko
Lamb shoulder or neck marinated in garlic and lemon juice, typically slow-roasted on the bone. Often cooked in a clay pot or earthenware dish.
Kokkinisto
Braised or stewed lamb shanks with tomato and cinnamon stick, served with orzo and grated Myzithra cheese. The meat is typically browned before braising or stewing.
Paidakia
Grilled or broiled, hand-held lamb chops, seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano and topped with a squeeze of lemon. A summer favorite, commonly matched with Greek salad.
Pastitsio
A hearty baked pasta dish (and lasagna alternative) filled with ground lamb and topped with Bechamel sauce.
Souvlaki
Ground, grilled lamb kebabs seasoned with mint and oregano. Typically served kebab-style on a skewer, or over flatbread with roasted tomatoes and tzatziki. Originally a street food favorite that also makes a stylish meze.
A Close Second…

While less common than lamb, goatmeat is another popular protein in Greek cuisine. Greek food is one cuisine that has the potential to serve as a strong entry point as the popularity of goatmeat continues to increase in the U.S, as non-traditional consumers become more adventurous in their eating habits. Many of the lamb dishes above, such as Kefthedes and Kokkinisto, could also be prepared with goatmeat.

Curious about Australian Meat? Click here for CattleIndustry Projections and Australian Sheep Industry Projections for a current overview of the Australian Red Meat Industry.   

The Burger Beat Goes On

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More than a decade after famed Chef Daniel Bouloud unveiled the db burger (sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras on a Parmesan bun), the August 2012 Better Burgers Market Intelligence Report from foodservice industry consultancy Technomic reveals that “burgers are one of the hottest trends on today’s dining scene.”

Of the 2,250 U.S. and Canadian consumers surveyed in the report, an estimated 44% eat a burger at least once a week. The data also indicates that the ‘better burger’ trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

The 2012 statistics, combined with data from their 2011 Burger Consumer Trend Report, lends credence to three “izations,” forecasted in Nation’s Restaurant News as drivers of 2012 dining trends: premiumization, customization and miniaturization.
These days, lamb burgers have become almost as prevalent as their beef counterparts (Down Under, they’re now on the menu at McDonald’s). If their relationship to the Technomic data and these trends are any indication, the future looks bright for Australian Lamb.   

Key Trend: Premiumization    

From fast-casual venues to full-service restaurants, customers are seeking superior quality— and a significant majority (75%) of survey respondents ranked meat quality and taste as the single most important burger component. The 2012 data also piggybacks on Technomic’s 2011 Burger Consumer Trend report, where 45% of customers said it was important that their burger patty also be hormone and antibiotic-free.
 

Key Trend: Customization  

Consumers want to be able to choose their burger toppings, and they’re looking for more than just lettuce, tomato and cheese. High-quality burger patties that can support a range of beyond-the-norm toppings and condiments are increasingly important.

The desire for customization and more adventurous burgers also synchs with a growing interest in global flavors. Mild-flavored burger meats that lend themselves to a wide variety of spices and seasonings from different cuisines (such as Mediterranean and Moroccan) will also appeal to curious palates, and help drive menu diversity. 

Key Trend: Miniaturization

More than half of survey respondents indicated that they’d like restaurants to offer a range of burger sizes, from sliders to half-pound patties. 20% of survey respondents listed portion size as their most important attribute, when choosing a burger.  

The desire for smaller burgers in particular can be linked to healthy lifestyle goals, as many diners equate smaller portions with healthier eating. Smaller portion sizes in tandem with leaner, nutrient-dense burger patties (that also don’t skimp on flavor) are well positioned to be popular with a growing number of health-conscious diners.  

An Event Full Year

(Upcoming Events) Permanent link

 Looking back at 2012, we can say it’s the year that we officially mastered George Clooney’s ‘Up in the Air’ TSA routine—that one-step dance of belt removal, laptop unveiling and the triumphant “see, look!” presentation of the 3oz liquid bag. Ahh, travel.

From Boston to San Francisco, 2012 has been a busy-but-great year of making connections and sharing our products with professionals throughout the foodservice industry. A round-up:     

January/February  

Rising Star Chefs Gala, Austin-San Antonio  

As a sponsor of the Austin/San Antonio Rising Star Chefs Gala (one of several events comprising the StarChefs.com Rising Stars Revue), Meat & Livestock Australia provided Australian Beef and Lamb to up-and-coming Austin and San Antonio Chefs Ned Elliot (Foreign and Domestic), Quealey Watson (The Monterrey) and Jonathan Gelmann (The Driskill Hotel). Chef Elliot prepared a juicy Australian Wagyu Flank Steak with Red Pepper Sauce, Fried Orzo, Poached Egg, and Ham Broth. Chef Watson cooked Braised Australian Beef Cheek, Green Romesco, Spiced Almonds, and Fenugreek. Chef Gelmann went with two dishes: Herb-crusted Organic Australian Lamb Lollipop with Spicy Apple Kimchee, and a Rueben Slider with Organic Australian Brisket Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Tomato-Caper Dressing, Swiss Fondue, and Pumpernickel Bun.    

March  

International Corporate Chefs Association (ICCA) Regional Conference, Los Angeles  

Australian Lamb was a first-year sponsor of this year’s event, focused on food trucks and introducing American diners to new and challenging flavors. Food & Wine ‘Best New Chef’ Roy Choi of Kogi food trucks hosted a morning session, where corporate chefs were challenged to concept two food truck menu items from mystery ingredients. The mystery boxes included Australian Lamb (ground and loin chops), and among the creative results were a Vietnamese-style lamb flatbread with fried smashed fingerling potatoes. Chef Choi also offered insight on his career; the food truck and corporate chef environments; and ways to introduce bold, new flavors to mainstream America.     

New England Food Show, Boston  

MLA partnered with a major Australian beef and lamb supplier at the New England Food Show, showcasing their new grass-fed beef brand. The show was an important cross-marketing opportunity, as it coincided with the International Boston Seafood Show, which attracted over 19,000 retail and foodservice buyers.     

Plate magazine Chef’s Table, Boston  

Sponsored by MLA and held at well-regarded Boston restaurant The Butcher Shop, this Australian Lamb luncheon prepared by Chef Michele Carter. Chef Carter created a special menu featuring Australian Lamb in charcuterie and in other ways typical of the rustic French and Italian cuisine that is the specialty of The Butcher Shop. Well-received by 25 local chefs in attendance, the menu included a memorable Australian Lamb Tartare, made with a fully denuded lamb loin, finely diced and topped with a quail egg, cornichons, capers, shallots, spicy tomato and black truffle aioli.      

April  

Protein Innovation Summit, Chicago
Australian Lamb and Beef was a gold sponsor of this two-day event, exploring
center-of-the-plate flavor trends, collaborative R&D strategies and new research findings. Executive Chef Michael Fiddler (The Trump International Hotel Chicago) prepared cocktail reception, breakfast and lunch offerings, including Crunchy Stuffed Australian Lamb Riblets, Lamb Bacon and Turkish Lamb Flatbread. MLA also had the opportunity to showcase a five-minute video featuring Australian farmer and environmental spokesperson Sam Archer, that spotlights Australian’s sustainable farming practices.     

CIA/Food Arts Greystone Flavor Summit, Napa 
Australian Lamb was a silver sponsor of this annual event, an exploration of flavor and related kitchen and dining management issues, that brings together top food and beverage executives, corporate and executive chefs, and other American foodservice and hospitality experts. Australian Lamb and Beef were featured throughout the summit, including a Chinese-style Australian Lamb “Char Siu” Bao and an Australian Lamb Loin with Pistachio and Curry-Asparagus salad.
    

Lexington BBQ Challenge, North Carolina  

Winners of a recent Australian ‘Tongmaster’ Beef competition demonstrated how barbequing high-end Australian wagyu beef differs from classic American styles in this second annual cook-off.  The 2012 event featured 55 teams from around the world; over 25,000 spectators; and the taping of the season finale of the national television show, Pitmasters.    

May  

National Restaurant Association Show, Chicago   

Chicago’s Dirk Flanigan (The Gage) and Aussie Doug Piper (MLA Butcher) conducted a comprehensive butchery and cooking demonstration of the preparation of different Australian Lamb cuts, including top sirloin, braised shanks, braised lamb neck and a leg of lamb (which they stuffed with Giardiniera and cooked sous vide). Recipes showcased include Australian Lamb Tartare and Australian Lamb Vindaloo. This year’s show drew over 61,000+ industry professionals from all 50 states and 100+ countries.       

June  

Plate Magazine Chef's Table, Austin  

Sponsored by MLA, this Plate Chef’s Table was hosted by Chef Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic. Showcasing his simple, salt-of-the-earth cooking style, Chef Elliott served
a Poached Rack of Australian Lamb with local peaches and West Virginia ramps, along with a Sliced Rib of Australian Wagyu beef, with grits and salsa.     

Rising Star Chefs Gala, Atlanta
As a silver sponsor, MLA provided Australian Beef and Lamb to up-and-coming local star chefs, including David Carson (Bacchanalia),
Peter Dale (The National) andRichard Blais (HD1, Flip Burger). Chef Carson prepared Australian Lamb and Onions Three Ways with Natural Jus; Chef Dale showcased a Grilled Australian Lamb Chop with Lamb Kefte, Tabbouleh, Feta, and Pecan, and Chef Blaise prepared an innovative Australian Beef Pastrami Dog with Ox Tongue, Tripe and “Rusky” Dressing.     

September  

Plate Magazine Chefs Table, Miami
This MLA-sponsored luncheon catering to more than 30 local chefs was prepared by Chef Jeff McMinnis of Yardbird. With Yardbird’s modern Southern style as its foundation, the meal kicked off with small plates of Australian Lamb Sausage Rolls and Australian Goat Meatballs. From there, guests enjoyed Australian Lamb Curry with grilled eggplant, Australian Goat Tagine with labna and a Grilled Australian Lamb Loin and Lamb Rack with celery root puree, bourbon, hazelnuts, cherries and watercress.    

October  

StarChefs International Congress, New York  

A gold sponsor of this event, Australian Lamb and Beef anchored a combined demonstration booth and Savory pop-up restaurant (co-presented with Jade Range). The pop-up showcased a daily three-course prepared by a featured chef. Chefs included LA’s Jordan Kahn (Red Medicine), Washington DC’s Katsuya Fukushima (Daikaya) and New York’s Matt Lightner (Atera). Among the dishes showcased were Fukushima’s Asian-inspired Kimchi-wrapped Australian Lamb and Oyster, and Lightner’s Poached Australian Goat Loin with Goat's Buttermilk, Flowers, and Pear. An Australian Lamb demonstration and sustainability overview, presented by Chef Elizabeth Faulkner, also took place on the event’s main stage.      

The Culinary Institute of America, 5th Annual Symposium on Latin Cuisines, Cultures and Exchange, San Antonio  

Australian Lamb and Beef was a sponsor of this event, highlighting Latin American cuisines, their connections to regional cultures and the role of Latin flavors in American menu development. In addition to Latin expert chefs like Chicago’s Rick Bayless, the Symposium brought together food and beverage executives, corporate and R&D chefs, marketing directors, and other corporate menu decision-makers. Featured Australian Lamb, Beef and Goat dishes  included a wood grilled lamb t-bones with pickled watermelon slaw, served over Brazilian white bean and bacon farofa. Argentinean-style Spit Roasted Whole Goat and Guajillo Chile Wood Grilled Wagyu Flap Meat Skewers were among the dishes served at the MLA co-sponsored closing session, “From Brazil to Puerto Rico: Bold Latin Flavors for American Menus.”     

November  

International Foodservice Editorial Council Conference, Nashville, TN
This event brings together major foodservice industry suppliers and nearly 200 media and public relations leaders. Key to the agenda are the event’s Office Hours, one-on-one media sessions conducted with publications covering the commercial restaurant, catering and hotel audiences, aimed at solidifying existing relationships and building new partnerships with foodservice editors. MLA participated in nine sessions, highlighting such topics as product quality, sustainable production and the versatility of cuts. The event was also an opportunity to present various marketing materials, including the “From Cuts to Cuisine” brochure. All were well received among foodservice media.
    

Additional 2012 Sponsorships  

The International Corporate Chefs Association (ICCA) 10th Anniversary Summit, San Francisco

The Flavor Experience, Newport Beach, California

ICCA Regional Conference, Dallas

StarChefs.com Rising Star Chefs Gala, Hawaii 

Meaty Round Up: June 2014

(Meaty Round Up) Permanent link

Here are a few of the highlights from the past few months that we’ve seen on menus across the country. Think we missed something? Let us know.

Meat & Livestock Australia Spring Roundup

(Upcoming Events) Permanent link

2013 is off to a busy start here at Meat & Livestock Australia. January and February took us to Tampa, Las Vegas and Nashville for the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, the NAMA MeatXpo and the Annual Meat Conference, respectively. In March and April, the calendar's just as full, and we’re excited to be joining operators, chefs and fellow foodservice professionals at some of the industry’s most important trade shows. Here’s a look at the weeks ahead:

March  

New England Food Show, Boston  

Australian beef and lamb will be partnering with a major importer to exhibit Australian Beef and Lamb at this annual three-day show, the New England region's largest event focused on the retail and foodservice markets. This is the final year that the New England Food Show (NEFS) will be co-located with the International Seafood Show (the largest seafood trade exposition in North America), and we're looking forward to attending both! If you're attending the NEFS, swing by our booth (#3354) to watch a cooking demonstration presented by an Australian chef.

April  

Protein Innovation Summit, Chicago  

Australian Beef and Lamb is proud to be a presenting sponsor of this two-day summit, exploring food and flavor trends, food cost strategies, process and technology trends, food politics and emerging growth segments for new product development. Meat & Livestock Australia's Master Butcher Doug Piper will be helping to present a butchery demo, entitled "A Fresh Look at Beef Value Cuts."

Culinary Institute of America and Food Arts Greystone Flavor Summit, Napa  

Australian Beef and Lamb is excited to be a gold sponsor of this annual event, which brings together top food and beverage executives, corporate and executive chefs, and other American foodservice and hospitality experts. As in 2012, Australian Red Meat will be served as part of the show's exciting scope, a hands-on exploration of flavor, kitchen and dining issues. Master Butcher Doug Piper will also be conducting a lamb carcass breakdown session during the Flavor Summit.

Marine Hotel Association Show, Orlando  

Australian Beef and Lamb is looking forward to attending this conference and trade show, a unique opportunity to interact with operators and purchasers in the marine hotel industry. We'll be supporting fellow importers with presentation and discussion of Australian Red Meat.

May  

National Restaurant Association Show, Chicago  

Australian Beef and Lamb will once again be conducting cooking demonstrations at this huge annual show, which drew more than 61,000 foodservice professionals in 2012. We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum that began with last year’s exhibit, a comprehensive butchery and cooking demonstration that featured several different Australian Lamb cuts and recipes, including Australian Lamb Tartare and Australian Lamb Vindaloo. Look for us at Booth #4838.


Keep up with MLA! Click here to view a list of upcoming events.
 

Come in, Spinner!

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

ANZAC is an acronym for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps," coined during World War I. April 25th, or Anzac Day, is a national holiday in Australia, commemorating all of the country's military veterans. There are plenty of heartfelt memorials and ceremonies, including the part where fellow citizens take to pubs and restaurants across the country to raise a pint and do a little coin-tossy gambling!

For this day and this day only, the pitch-and-toss betting game of Two-up becomes legal. Played with pennies and brought to Australia by English and Irish convicts, Two-up became famous as the pastime of World War I diggers (soldiers). After an era of speakeasy-style "Two-up schools," aided by corrupt policemen and guarded by eagle-eyed Cockatoos (lookouts), the game waned in popularity, until it resurfaced legally at a few casinos in the 1970s. Now permitted in all states on Anzac Day, Two-up is considered symbolic of a sense of shared experience with past and present Australian soldiers.

How to Play:

A person is selected as the Spinner (generally greeted to loud calls of "Come in Spinner!" by the rest of the players). The Spinner places two coins on the kip (a small piece of wood)—one coin goes heads-up, the other coin goes tails-up. Then, the Spinner tosses the coins into the air using the kip, until they win or lose.

The basic format of the game:

  • Two heads means the Spinner wins. 
  • Two tails means the Spinner loses. 
  • Odds means the Spinner throws again.

The Spinner is required to place a bet before the first throw that must be covered (equaled) by another player. If the Spinner wins, they keep the bet and cover, otherwise it goes to the player who covered the bet. The Boxer (the game manager, who doesn’t do any betting) takes a commission out of this bet.

The other members of the group place side bets (bets against each other) on whether the Spinner will win or lose and the result of the next throw.

Only in Australia... Aussie Burgers

(Only In Australia) Permanent link

A summer BBQ is never complete without an Aussie Burger.
Here are the 10 essentials you need for your perfect burger, Aussie style: The-Great-Aussie-Burger

  1. Ground lamb
  2. Grilled pineapple
  3. Pickled beets
  4. Fried egg
  5. Grilled onions
  6. Cheese
  7. Lettuce
  8. Tomato
  9. Toasty buns
  10. Last but not least…Bacon!

Check out our take on this classic.

Servings

2

Marinate 

30 minutes

Cook 

15 minutes

Ingredients

12 ounces ground Australian lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices cheddar cheese

To Serve

2 hamburger buns, split and toastedbutter
2 lettuce leaves1 tomato, sliced
4 slices pickled beets
pineapple, thinly sliced
tomato ketchup
4 bacon strips
2 eggs

Method

Place the lamb, garlic, onion in a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper and mix together.
Using clean hands, massage the burger mix until combined.
Shape the mixture into two patties, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat oil in a large, non-stick fry pan over medium heat.
Cook the patties for 3 minutes on each side or until almost cooked through.
Transfer to a baking sheet and top each patty with a slice of cheese.
Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

While cheese is melting, cook bacon and eggs in fry pan.

Assembly

Spread the hamburger bun base with butter then layer lettuce, tomato, beets, lamb patty, pineapple, tomato ketchup, bacon and egg.
Cover with bun tops and serve.

 

Summer Roundup

(Upcoming Events) Permanent link

We’ve got a busy summer on our hands, with trips to foodservice industry events on both U.S. coasts. On the schedule for the next few months: 

June

International Corporate Chefs Association (ICCA) Annual Summit, Miami

Australian Beef and Lamb is a patron sponsor of this annual event, which brings together some of the nation’s most creative corporate chefs to share their vision for the next decade. The International Corporate Chefs Association is the first association designed exclusively for corporate chefs from the nation’s largest chains and multi-unit operations. 

RAMMY Awards Gala, Washington, D.C.

Australian Beef and Lamb are proud to be sponsors of this annual hot-ticket dinner, fundraiser and awards ceremony, hosted by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. An estimated 1,600 hospitality influencers and media will explore four pavilions, highlighting diverse local and international foods, with cocktail, craft beer and wine bars along the way. If you’re attending, you’ll find us in the Australia pavilion, where offerings will include an Australian Waygu Carpaccio with pickled red onions and Yuzu Vinaigrette; Australian Lamb shoulder racks sous vide in a Thai Red Curry sauce; and an Australian Grass-fed Beef Pho. Also sample some of Australia’s finest wines and cheeses on the pavilion. 

July

Plate magazine Chef’s Table, Seattle

We're eagerly anticipating this West Coast iteration of our successful Australian Beef and Lamb-sponsored Chef's Table events with Plate magazine. No doubt it'll be every bit as delicious as last year's Chef's Tables, with chefs Michele Carter (The Butcher Shop, Boston), Ned Elliott (Foreign & Domestic, Austin) and Jeff McMinnis (Yardbird, Miami). Previous featured dishes include Australian Lamb Tartare; Sliced Rib of Australian Wagyu beef, with grits and salsa; and Australian Goat Tagine with creamy labna.

August

The Flavor Experience, Newport Beach

Australian Lamb is a Pinnacle Sponsor of this yearly conference for top-level executives, focused on flavor as a menu component, differentiator and more. Sessions will focus on a range of topics, from the business of flavor to international menu trends. We’ll also be participating in a special food and beverage showcase for operators and pinnacle partners. 

Expo Comida Latina, Los Angeles 

Australian Beef and Lamb are looking forward to participating in this immersive three-day event, North America's only trade event focused on bringing authentic, specialty, gourmet and mainstream products from around the globe to retail and foodservice buyers looking to meet the demands of today's Hispanic American U.S. population. As an added bonus, the show is co-located with the Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo, featuring more than 650+ leading industry suppliers, and offering an equal focus on fast-growing trends in the retail and foodservice industries. 

Keep up with MLA! Click here to view a list of upcoming events.  

 

Rounding Out Your Menu: Chickpea Panisse

(Round Out Your Menu) Permanent link

This month’s Featured Chef, Australian-born Craig Hopson, has a preference for Australian Lamb—though he’s not just being patriotic. One draw for him is Australian Lamb’s consistency. “Your level of quality and tenderness is always the same. Cutting and trimming is always the same,” he says.     

We asked Chef Craig to share a few of his favorite dish and menu pairings. Here’s what he had to say. 

On the plate: “Classic Mediterranean foods like chickpeas, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes are a perfect pairing for Australian lamb,” says Hopson. His pairing du jour is easy-to-make chickpea panisse, baked or fried chickpea cakes with a polenta-like texture and an affinity for tender lamb loin. His recipe:     

Chickpea Panisse

Servings

1 half sheet pan    

Ingredients  

2.75 quarts chicken stock

4 ounces garlic confit, passed through a sieve

0.75 quart chickpea flour, sifted

5 ounces extra virgin olive oil

2.5 tablespoons salt

Directions     

  1. Bring stock to a boil.    
  2. Add garlic confit to boiling stock and whisk.    
  3. Slowly, whisk in sifted flour. Mixture will start to thicken.    
  4. Turn heat to low and scrape bottom and sides with a rubber spatula.     
  5. Cook for 20 minutes.    
  6. Take off heat and using a stick blender, add salt and olive oil.    
  7. Pour mixture onto a sheet tray that is lined with parchment paper and olive oil.    
  8. Cool 5–10 minutes, cover the top surface with parchment paper and let set in fridge.      

Like polenta, chickpea panisse offers a rich, savory flavor all its own, and its texture is also made to soak up a range of sauces.      

To Try

Substitute chickpea panisse for the zucchini, walnut and caper couscous in this quick, Mediterranean-inspired recipe.    

On the Holiday Menu

A flavorful beet salad with goat cheese, walnuts and watercress is a great way to introduce diners to a classic holiday lamb dish, like this semi-boneless leg of lamb with roasted potatoes.

For a casual holiday dinner (the kind he’d prepare for friends), Chef Craig suggests a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, accompanied by a Tabbouleh-style dish with bulgur, along with kale or other sautéed greens. As a first course, try a shrimp salad with cucumbers and almonds.

Ode to the Onion

(Round Out Your Menu) Permanent link

Onions can be more than just another ingredient in the culinary chorus—especially if you’ve got grass-fed, grilled meat on the agenda. This month’s innovative Featured Chef, Dirk Flanigan, suggests promoting them to side dish, with an onion purée. Simple to prepare, the delicious end result “combines earthy sweetness with a rich onion flavor.”

 

 

Recipe: ONION PURÉE 

Serves 10 (approximately 3 oz portions) 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Spanish (or sweeter) onions
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • ½ lb. unsalted butter 
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste  

Method

Roast whole onions at 350˚F for 2 hours. Pierce with cooking needle to test for doneness; needle should be able to be inserted through onions with no resistance. Let cool.

Heat cream to simmer and soften butter. In a vita-prep blender, combine with onions, butter and cream, and sprinkle lightly with pepper. Blend until consistency resembles a thin mashed potato. Serve warm. 

Easy to Customize 

Offering the consistency of thin mashed potatoes, a basic onion purée will work well with goat, lamb or beef. Savory on its own, the beauty of the recipe is that its many variations can harmonize easily with even the most complex of red meat dishes.  

One variation that worked particularly well for Chef Dirk was the honey-truffle onion purée he paired with his crowd-drawing "goatchetta," at the 2012 StarChefs Tattoos, Booze and BBQ event in New York City. This dish was a riff on porchetta, made with Australian Goat. An Australian Goat loin and belly were stuffed with de-nuded hindquarter meat and seasoned with flavors of BBQ. Pressed and braised forequarter meat (goat neck and shoulder) was also added to the loin, with Activa RM used as a binding agent. The loin was cooked sous vide with smoked chiles, shallots and paprika, then finished on the grill. 

The honey-truffle onion purée variation proved a perfect foil for the smoky, savory, and BBQ-sweet character of the goatchetta. To prepare this variation, Chef Dirk added a pound of honey truffles to the softened butter-cream mix, before blending. Radish cress salad and BBQ vinaigrette rounded out the dish.  

For Sipping

Serving tender-grilled meat and a smoky onion purée? Chef Dirk suggests pairing the dish with a ripe, round, food-friendly Italian red wine, like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Valpolicella (Buglioni is a favorite producer). Or, serve diners a dry, fruit-forward sparkling rosé. Bugey, from the Jura region of eastern France, is one of his go-to wines. Like the Italian reds, it will mesh well with the savory, earthy flavors of the meat and onion purée. 

 

Featured Chef: Craig Hopson, The Brewster, New York City

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Australian-born Craig Hopson got his start at The Grange in Adelaide and in the Sheraton on The Park Hotel in Sydney, before cheffing in Switzerland, at Geneva’s Hotel d’Angleterre, and in France, at Restaurant Troisgros, Restaurant Guy Savoy and Lucas Carton. After arriving stateside in 2000, he worked for The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans and Philadelphia, then landed in Manhattan, at Artisanal and Picholine, before taking the reins at top-rated One if By Land, Two if By Sea and Le Cirque. Now, this StarChefs.com 2007 ‘Rising Star’ award winner’s getting ready to launch his first solo venture, The Brewster.

Chef Craig’s is quite a resume—and one that’s perhaps a little different from what he might have envisioned in his late teens, when his career ambitions leaned more towards competitive surfing. “I just fell into cooking and at the start it was just a job. But I have always wanted to excel at what I’ve chosen to do, so I put my mind to it, worked in the best restaurants I could and traveled ” he says.   

Suffice to say, Chef Craig's passion for the kitchen has taken hold. As an alumnus of noted French restaurants, his style’s rooted in classical technique, combined with a love of experimentation. “My inspiration changes day to day, so I love whatever is fresh, new and exciting,” he says. “I want to make food that’s accessible and recognizable, but also delicious and memorable. It should look like something that you might have seen before, but also not like you’ve tasted before.”   

Exploring different textures, brighter flavors and varied cuisines, from Italian to Asian, is one way Chef Craig likes to keep his food “fresh.” Approachability’s also important. “Over time, I’ve looked to make things simpler,” he says, also citing his appreciation for all-natural ingredients.

Hopson’s desire to focus on simple-yet-innovative food, fresh ingredients and global flavors is ready to be unleashed at The Brewster. Catering to a “laid-back, downtown crowd,” and housed in a historic brick Carriage House, the New York City restaurant/market will take its inspiration from its historic surroundings, as well as the flavors brought to the U.S. by European, West African, and other influential 19th–century immigrant groups.  

The menu’s still in development, but Chef Craig’s got Australian Meat in his differential (and standouts like Australian Beef Ragout with Foie Gras Sabayon, in his track record). One dish up his sleeve for The Brewster is the Alexandre Dumas, combining Australian Beef tenderloin and tongue with mushrooms. Another is a traditional English-style mixed grill, which would feature Australian Lamb as a focal point.    

Featured Video: Grilled Lamb T-Bones with Shaved Fennel Salad

(Meat Masterclass) Permanent link
Lamb t-bones take just minutes to grill. In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Tucker Bunch prepares the t-bones in a Mediterranean-style marinade.




Featured Chef: Brad Farmerie, PUBLIC and Saxon + Parole, New York City

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The son of an avid home cook, Pittsburgh native Brad Farmerie grew up with homegrown vegetables and fresh-baked bread (mom’s insistence) on his plate. The influence of his Lebanese grandparents made lamb the weekly meat of choice, and by the time Brad enrolled at Penn State (intended major: mechanical engineering) he had a variety of cuisines on his radar.

Cooking was the tuition-paying gig, but it didn’t take long for Brad’s focus to shift from mechanics to mise en place. After a brief hiatus spent exploring the food and wines of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Antipodes, his interest in food took him to the UK, where he earned a Grande Diplome at Le Cordon Bleu in 1996.

After rounding out his education and technique at top English restaurants Coast, Chez Nico and Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Farmerie worked at London's Sugar Club, where he found a mentor in renowned New Zealand Chef Peter Gordon. He went on to assist Gordon and fellow New Zealand Chef Anna Hansen with the opening of The Providores and Tapa Room in 2001.

In 2003, Brad returned stateside to help Gordon and Hansen conceive PUBLIC, the first self-propelled restaurant by the design and concept firm AvroKO. "The dining room menu swings for the fences with each and every dish," said The New York Times that same year, of the restaurant's eclectic, globally influenced offerings. Then and now, the menu presents many of the rare-for-the-U.S. Australian and New Zealand ingredients that caught Chef Brad’s eye, particularly while he was living in the UK and on his travels.

Ten years, five consecutive Michelin stars and several successful AvroKO ventures later (including the 2011 launch of PUBLIC’s sister restaurant Saxon + Parole), Farmerie’s first U.S. venture is still going strong. Chef Brad is proud of what he sees as PUBLIC’s ability to stick to its original intent: "to give people something unexpected, something to talk about and make them think."

While many of the conversation pieces have changed over the last decade, this 2005 StarChefs Rising Chef remains grounded in his cooking philosophy and aim: staying true to his ingredients and celebrating his product, while challenging diners to incorporate new and exciting flavors and ingredients into their culinary vocabulary. Brad acknowledges that the latter part of this can be a challenge for him, too. "If you're going to make them try it, it better be good!"

Among a handful of proteins that have stayed on PUBLIC’s menu since opening, Chef Brad considers Australian Lamb to be one of his most successful offerings. There’s a good chance his latest dish, Australian Lamb Loin with Black Baba Ghanoush, Za’atar Roasted Cippolini Onion, Goat’s Milk Feta and Pistachio Vinaigrette, will be making an appearance in Meat & Livestock Australia and Star Chefs’ Australian Lamb Easter promotion in New York City later this month.

Chef Brad Farmerie


Meat & Livestock Australia and Starchefs.com Australian Lamb Easter Contest

In partnership with StarChefs.com, Meat & Livestock Australia is conducting an Aussie Lamb Spring Fling promotion in New York City, March 18–31. Conceived to raise the awareness of Australian lamb and to demonstrate that lamb can be a great center-of-the-plate option, the competition will also highlight Australia’s clean and green image, high food safety and pasture-raised lamb products. 

Showcasing their Aussie Lamb Spring Fling dish in their restaurants, ten StarChefs.com past rising Star Chefs (below) will compete to win the Past Rising Star Chefs Grand Prize: two round-trip tickets to Sydney, with accommodation and a restaurant voucher (worth $300) to one of the city’s top restaurants. Participating consumers can enter to win the Diner's Choice Prize by voting for their favorite Past Rising Star Chef's lamb dish on the Australian Lamb Facebook page. Voting diners will be entered into a drawing for a chance at a dinner for ten at the winning restaurant, as well as two tickets to the Rising Star Chefs Gala in New York City on April 11, 2013. 

To promote the contest, StarChefs.com will film the ten past rising Star Chefs for a NYC Yellow taxi TV advertising campaign, spotlighting each participant's Australian Lamb dish. All of the contest action will also be covered by Australian Lamb on Facebook, Twitter and on the web. 

Past Rising StarChefs.com Aussie Lamb Spring Fling Contest Participants

  • Hooni Kim – Hanjan/Danji (Flatiron/Mid-town West) 
  • Brad Farmerie – PUBLIC/Saxon and Parole (NoHo) 
  • Vikas Khanna – Junoon (Flatiron) 
  • Hilary Sterling – The Beatrice Inn (Greenwich Village) 
  • Jesse Schenker – Recette (West Village) 
  • John Fraser – Dovetail (Upper West) 
  • Markus Glocker – Gordon Ramsay at the London (Theatre District) 
  • Jason Hall – Crown (Upper East) 
  • Joe Isidori – Arthur on Smith (Brooklyn) 
  • Chris Santos – The Stanton Social (Lower East Side)

Global Trends & Recipes

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Parsley-Orange-and-Pecan-Crusted-Rack-of-LambEmbrace your inner data nerd! A recent study from Technomic found that lamb, once relegated exclusively to fine dining, and rack of lamb, are steadily moving towards the mainstream in consumers’ minds and on the menu. Inroads into heavily menued comfort foods like pot pies and pasta dishes, and popular ethnic cuisines from Mediterranean to Mexican, are where the evidence shows up most. The all-American burger is perhaps the brightest spot, where menu mentions for lamb burgers are up 800%, and consumer interest in lamb burgers is up 50% from just a year ago. The reasons for lamb’s growth in popularity with consumers are diverse. Consumers – especially younger consumers 18-34 – are seeking alternatives to familiar favorites like beef for a variety of reasons.

Sustainability:

Attributes like pasture-raised, no-added hormones, grass-fed, and all-natural are in high demand by consumers. Our Aussie lamb ranchers would say “Exactly! That’s how we do it, mate!

Health:

Perceived health benefits to lamb over other meats, especially when it’s pasture-raised, natural or organic. And it’s more than perception — Aussie lamb is naturally lean and nutrient-rich.

Exploration:

Younger consumers especially are looking for new food experiences and to try something new; new ethnic cuisines, new proteins and new flavors. While in Australia we don’t consider lamb “new”, it’s still a relatively exotic item here in the US.

Consider these factoids from the Technomic study:

  • 1/3 of 18-34 year olds would pay more for
    free-range foods
  • Half of consumers 18-34 feel “natural” and
    “unprocessed” foods are tastier
  • “Sustainable” claims on US menus are up 45%
    since 2012
  • Grass-fed claims have nearly tripled since 2010

Beyond the Rack

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Proteins occupy a crucial place on every menu and budget—and if you’re looking to create new, cost-effective dishes, look to your meats first. One protein particularly well-suited to innovation is Australian Lamb. While the classic rack is a staple main course, lamb, like beef, comes in many different, underutilized cuts—many of which are ideal for flavor-maximizing slow cooking methods that can benefit your operation in myriad ways. Potential benefits include easy-to-assemble dishes; a lowered demand for extra kitchen staff at service time; and optimal order-to-serve times. Cuts to consider for crowd-pleasing, cost-effective dishes: 

Shoulder 

Derived from the forequarter, the shoulder is among the most economical and flavor-packed cuts of lamb. It can be cut into shoulder roasts (boneless or bone-in), chops or into chunks for stewing. Ground lamb also often comes from the shoulder. Tender enough to be dry-roasted, its fat content also makes it ideal for braising. Dishes will be marked by aromatic depth, rich flavors and succulent texture. 

Dish example: Glazed chai tea-smoked lamb shoulder with vegetable spring rolls  

Loin  

From the middle-lower section of the rear quarter, lamb loin (the “New York” cut of lamb)  can be boned, rolled and tied, or cut into individual loin chops. Beyond premium top sirloin chops and lamb tenderloin, the short loin also presents many flavorful dish options. It can be rolled and sliced into small, round French noisettes, or thicker medallions. Able to be pan-seared and served pink, they present impressively and are versatile enough to be accompanied by a range of seasonal side dishes, from light salads to heartier vegetable purées.  

Dish example: Seared lamb medallions with almond and mint pea cream and baby vegetables 

Shank

From the latter part of the fore or hind leg, lamb shanks are best roasted or braised to elicit the juices from the bone. They’re almost always cooked in liquid until the meat starts separating from the bone for meltingly tender texture. Yielding a generous amount of meat, shanks can be served whole (a single shank will suffice for one person), or the cooked meat can be stripped from the bone and stewed in cooking juices for multiple portions. 

Dish example: Braised lamb shanks with white bean purée 

Interested in learning more about different cuts of lamb? Check out Volume 1 of Australian Lamb’s Cuts to Cuisine to explore different cuts, butchery tips and recipes. Volume 2 also coming soon! 

Visit our Media Center for short, easy-to-follow videos with comprehensive lamb and beef butchery tips. 

Featured Chef: Dirk Flanigan, Il Coniglio, Chicago

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 When he took a job as a dishwasher at age 13, Chef Dirk Flanigan's goal may have been to buy a surfboard, but he quickly decided what he wanted to be when he grew up. By age 16, he was learning classical techniques and the brigade de cuisine as a Chef de Partie at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples. By age 18, he was working full-time in Chicago at the Park Hyatt La Tour, and pondering typical coming-of-age questions, like how to butcher hundreds of quail as fast as possible. 


Chef Dirk continued to sharpen his skills at Chicago’s Blue Water Grill, Blue Plate, Meritage Café and Wine Bar, Echo and Madam B, earning widespread acclaim along the way, including three stars from Chicago Tribune critic Phil Vettel. In 2007, he cemented his place among Chicago’s elite chefs with the opening of The Gage on the city’s famed Michigan Avenue. "The Gage has raised the neighborhood's culinary bar to a remarkable degree," said the Chicago Tribune, of the 300-seat gastropub.
 
At The Gage, Chef Dirk’s “refined rusticity” cooking style took center stage. The menu centered on classic comfort food with modern touches, inspired by a cornucopia of global cuisine, from Pacific Rim and Pan-Asian to British, American and Italian. One successful dish was his lamb vindaloo, an Indian curry-inspired riff on a traditional English mutton stew. 

The use of cooking technology also drove his success at The Gage, and equally acclaimed, upscale French sister restaurant, Henri, opened in 2010. “It’s great to be a traditionalist, but you also have to be open-minded enough to improve on things,” he says, of his desire to explore molecular and other techniques that can quickly create a high level of flavor. Sous vide has been a part of Chef Dirk’s repertoire since 1988, and its ability to render fat to drive flavor has enabled him to engage diners with less common cuts of lamb and beef, including top sirloin and butt steak. Transcending perceptions and delighting diners with innovative executions of “off-limits” combinations (like shellfish and blue cheese) is another challenge he welcomes. 


A Busy Year   

With the success of Henri and The Gage firmly under his belt, Chef Dirk departed the restaurants in January. In February, he headed Down Under for an Australian red meat paddock-to-plate tour with Meat & Livestock Australia, Plate Magazine and the International Corporate Chefs Association.

“I was blown away by how green it is,” he said, of his tour of the Australian countryside, where one highlight was a stop at Ray Vella’s family-owned, 18,000-acre ranch at Bald Hills, in Marlborough, Queensland. “You hear the term ‘grass-fed,’ and here, it’s like really, really grass-fed.” The time-tested nature of sustainable Australian farming practices aimed at making smart use of farming byproducts and minimizing waste, also left an impression. 

On culinary tours of several Aussie cities, Chef Dirk also had the opportunity to soak up a little inspiration from butchers and fellow chefs, through culinary excursions like a Moroccan-and Indian-meal at Melbourne’s Chin Chin, and a visit to the dry-aging room (complete with Himalayan Rock Salt wall) at Victor Churchill Family Butchers in Sydney.

These days, the StarChefs 2011 “Rising Star” and James Beard Foundation “Best Chefs Great Lakes” semi-finalist is busy getting ready to open Il Coniglio (“the rabbit” in Italian), a fine-casual, 100–150 seat restaurant with a hybrid French-Italian menu. What can diners expect? “Instant nostalgia, with new memories,” says Chef. “Right when they walk in, people will feel like they’ve found something.” 

Kentucky-Style Barbequed Lamb

(Meat Masterclass) Permanent link

Australian lamb leg gets the ‘ol Kentucky BBQ treatment with a dry rub and plenty of time in the smoker. In this video, Culinary Institute of America Chef Tucker Bunch demonstrates a killer BBQ dish that combines the classic hickory-smoked “low and slow” BBQ technique with the earthy, meaty flavors of Australian lamb leg.

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