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Aussie Meat Trends

Meet the Chef: Mark Steuer, Viva La Rev Group

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Mark Steuer

One of the most sought-after events during the NRA show is the annual Share Our Strength BBQ, held at the Navy Pier. Chicago’s culinary stars come out to shine in support of the fight against child hunger in America, and True Aussie Beef & Lamb were proud to do our bit as a sponsor. We are doubly proud of the fantastic food our chef partners created, both Frontier’s Chef Brian Jupiter and Mark Steuer of the Viva La Rev Group. Chef Jupiter’s Aussie Grassfed beef short rib, Jup's Mac, spicy coffee bbq, Haitian pikliz were a huge hit! Just as popular was Chef Mark’s lamb creation, “mint rubbed lamb sirloin, spicy lamb sausage with cucumber yogurt, smoked red onion and preserved lemon.”

We caught up with Chef Mark to get the scoop on his dishes:

“I think in the back of my mind I was thinking about gyros, one of my favorite lamb dishes,” said Mark. “Those flavors of lemon, mint, parsley, cucumber and yogurt are just made to go with lamb, so I tried to come up with a creative way to incorporate them into a really flavorful bite for the BBQ.”

“The lamb sirloin I kept really simple, seasoning it and rubbing it with mint before cooking it sous vide for 4 hours. With the shoulder, we made a greek-style sausage and just rendered it down until it was crispy. All those little elements, from the smoked onions to the preserved lemon and a dollop of greek yogurt, all combine to give you that classic Mediterranean flavor profile, but in one bite.”

Lamb has long been a steady part of Chef Mark’s menus, whether at Hot Chocolate, the Bedford, or Carriage House. He says lamb has an appeal as something different and special for guests, and Aussie Lamb’s pasture fed appeal gives the waitstaff a powerful selling tool. “Being able to tell a story about grassfed or pasture-raised at the table is really effective, especially when you’ve given the staff a taste,” says Mark. “They can speak to the clean, mild flavor and speak to how it was raised, which more people are interested in all the time.”

“Personally, I like my meat a bit more on the rarer side,” adds Chef Mark, “the leanness and pure taste of a quality product like Australian Lamb works really well that way – with simple seasoning, a quick sear, maybe use the drippings for the sides, and you’re good to go.”

Raising the Steaks to New Heights

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Chicago Group Pic

Just before the NRA show last month, True Aussie Beef & Lamb hosted an invitational seminar we called “Raise the Steaks” for chefs from restaurant brands across the country to spend a day with an intimate group of their peers learning about Aussie grassfed beef lamb and getting to work with it together in the Metropolitan Club kitchen 67 floors above downtown Chicago in the Willis Tower (aka the Sears Tower). The event featured demonstrations by Maggiano’s Senior Director of Culinary Keith Brunell (his recipes are available here) and sous vide master Gerard Berthelion of Cuisine Solutions, a trends roundtable from Flavor & the Menu editor Cathy Holley, and a live lamb butchery demo from world-class Chef Tarik Ibrahim – who happens to have a singing voice to match his culinary chops.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the day:

“What a World Class program MLA put together…their pride in the products, from the grassfed beef, lamb 5 different ways, and Wagyu beef was so evident and inspiring I immediately began ideating around new menu items for my brand.”
-Corporate Executive Chef Michael Slavin, Applebee’s

“The MLA event was a loaded educational experience that exceeded my expectations! The live video and presentation of Australian Ranchers gave a very real perspective of what it’s like Down Under and their ongoing commitment to producing the very best. The end result was a never ending array of creative and flavorful dishes that truly highlighted the world of Aussie Beef & Lamb.”
-Chef Nick Saba, VP RD & Culinary, Catalina Group

 

This kind of educational format has been successful everywhere we’ve rolled it out, from Miami to Boston and now Chicago. Attendees tell us they love the opportunity to learn about how meats from Australia are raised and their sustainability story. We just may be coming to a city near you! We’re looking at the West Coast for spring 2016, so let us know if you’d like to attend a similar event in your area.