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Aussie Meat Trends

Meet the Chef: Mark Steuer, Viva La Rev Group

(Meet the Chef) Permanent link

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.”

Meet the Chef: Aaron Brooks

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Chef Aaron BrooksThe life of a hotel executive chef like Aaron Brooks, even at a luxury brand like Four Seasons, has its challenges. For one thing, you will likely move from city to city several times as your career develops. Chef Aaron is now at Four Seasons Miami and its EDGE Steak & Bar, but also spent time at the brand’s properties in Vancouver and Boston. As an expat and gregarious Aussie, he’s well suited to the challenge of getting to know his local culinary colleagues and community. He recently served as “Lambassador” for Australian Lamb, and helped bring together a group of top-flight local chefs to learn about and cook with Aussie lamb at the nearby Eden Roc hotel. “It was a great experience – I always love getting to know my local colleagues, and building and fostering those relationships. As a chef, you’ve got to be part of the local community if you’re going to make it.”

Beyond getting to know his fellow chefs, even the native Aussie learned a thing or two about lamb. “I’ve traveled all over and used Aussie lamb for years, but never really knew what goes into it, the respect for the animals and how they’re raised and pastured.” He says. “We see it in the consistency and quality in what we get here, but it was inspiring to see and hear the story behind it.” The chefs were inspired to team up to put together a “Lamb Down Under” event on the rooftop at EDGE this summer, featuring a casual, walk-around outdoor setting and the chance to taste lamb-tastic creations from several top Miami chefs.

And it’s not just chefs who are fired up about lamb. Chef Brooks notes that his guests have responded really well to the lamb he puts on the menu. He’s currently running “Fire Roasted Aussie Lamb Chops, Crisp Belly Glazed with Black Pepper Tupelo Honey, Five Grain Salad, Greek Yogurt” with great results. There are a few strategies that work best for getting guests to order less familiar proteins like lamb, according to Chef: “Pairing it with a sexy item like a grain salad never hurts. Or putting lamb with housemade pastas, risottos, or (here in Miami) empanadas instantly makes it familiar and comfortable, and an easy order.”

For foodservice operators, using more than just chops is part of the recipe for success. At Chef Aaron’s steakhouse concept EDGE, he likes to do duos or trios, using less expensive cuts of meat alongside familiar favorites. “It not only helps your food cost, but allows you to create a more unique and signature dish, with more creativity.”