A flavour-filled celebration
11 May 2018
Celebrating the diversity of beef, including the 'hidden gems' of the beef carcase, was the focus of MLA’s chefs and butchers at Beef Australia 2018 this week.
Lesser known cuts were showcased by some of the biggest names in the culinary world including internationally-renowned chef Curtis Stone, who attended the event with MLA support.
Curtis, who has his own butcher shop and restaurant in Los Angeles and is a beef importer, championed whole-carcase utilisation in his Beef Australia demonstrations.
“From a chef’s perspective, the more tender cuts are the easiest ones to cook – unfortunately, they don’t have as much flavour,” Curtis said.
“The ones with all the flavour are the tougher cuts to cook. Brisket, chuck, ox tail, tongue, cheeks: all the stuff that doesn’t get as much airtime but eats brilliantly when it’s cooked right – whether that’s smoking, braising or stewing or whatever it may be."
Getting value out of a diverse carcase
At the Beef Australia PwC Celebrity Chef Restaurant, MLA Business Manager Food Service & Corporate Chef Sam Burke led a team of chefs who served up non-primal cuts, including a lunch of Wagyu and Black Angus from Jack’s Creek, to a full house.
“It’s all about celebrating the diversity of the carcase and looking at the non-primal cuts that producers can get more value for,” Sam said.
“Today, we’re using flat iron from the oyster blade and rump cap.
“Australian beef is the greatest product on earth, and all you have to do is cook it right and serve it with light accompaniments, don’t overpower it, and you let the beef speak for itself.”
Cooking and plating up in the restaurant in front of the diners, Sam said it was an exciting and emotional event.
“My mum and dad, Ray and Margaret, are here from Sydney and they haven’t seen me cook since 1996 when I was an apprentice, so this lunch is an emotional one for me," he said.
Sam addressed the lunch crowd, talking about the work MLA does to help producers keep beef on the menu.
Serving up dishes with a twist
Also promoting beef’s versatility was Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim, MLA’s Dubai-based Corporate Executive Chef, and the face of Australian lamb and beef in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Tarek showcased recipes he has developed using what he calls “non-loin” cuts such as beef cheeks and oyster blade.
Among the dishes was a new twist on a traditional Egyptian dish called koshari.
“It’s usually a vegan dish, but I’ve added oyster blade to it. The flavour of the dish is wonderful and the meat elevates the dish even more,” Tarek said.
Beef’s ‘hidden gems’ revealed
In the dedicated cooking and butchering precinct, The Butcher’s Kitchen, MLA End User Training Facilitator Kelly Payne continued the theme, seaming out two Meat Standards Australia (MSA) graded primals for the packed audience, while MSA Program Manager, Sarah Strachan, spoke about MSA grading.
Kelly revealed the ‘hidden gems’ of a beef carcase, starting with a clod (blade), removing the petite tender and the oyster blade and turning it into a flat-iron steak.
He also seamed a rump to produce a range of cuts including a rump cap, pillow steak, and eye rump.
Attendees had the opportunity to sample the cooked product, including beef brisket bacon.
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