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sustainability

My review of Smithfield 2016 Chef’s Table: bringing together flavors from all corners of the world to highlight the beauty of pork

Slaughtering a pig can be a rather gruesome event – and I remember it well. When the days were getting colder and holidays were approaching, families all across my home country would gather together and slaughter pigs to have food to put on the table during the harsh winter ahead. Ambushed by people who would get on top of them and leave them unable to breathe, with screaming noises and terrified eyes, the pigs would give their last breaths under the knife, their blood leaving a trail on the velvety snow, their guts exhaling steam in the icy cold morning. This was way before “humane” slaughter practices gained momentum, before “sustainability” became a buzzword and “social responsibility” turned into a big commitment for companies. Back then, there were no private hog producer companies to speak of, and we didn’t much care about how the animals had died. On an empty stomach, one is only concerned with the meat.

Time has passed and practices have evolved, and these days companies are under intense public scrutiny to ensure that they deliver on their promises of good care for the animals and for the environment, in addition to delivering flavorful products. Such is the case with Smithfield, the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. Smithfield has its own DURoC breed of pig, and the company has held a series of Chef’s Table events throughout the country to highlight the flavorful versatility of the DURoC pork products and to emphasize its corporate sustainability policies. I was invited to attend the event which was held in Chicago earlier this week – and that was an offer I couldn’t refuse 🙂 Keep Reading

The 2016 National Restaurant Association Show: What are the hottest food trends?

If there were one word to describe the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, that would be: amazing. Every year in May, tens of thousands of restaurant professionals from around the world meet in Chicago to learn about the latest industry trends, to showcase their products, to negotiate business deals, and ultimately to network and share stories and experiences with their peers. It is a high caliber event which has a little bit of everything for everyone. Aspiring chefs, Michelin star restaurateurs, grocery store buyers, food bloggers, niche business owners – there is a panel, pavilion or education session to suit everyone’s tastes, interests or expectations.

Still, what has the NRA Show got to do with the ice cream pictured above? And can ice cream represent a food trend? According to a survey of almost 1,600 professional chefs recently conducted by the National Restaurant Association, the answer to the second question is yes. Keep Reading