Academy to flesh out meaty ideas

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MLA's corporate chef Sam Burke.
Camera IconMLA's corporate chef Sam Burke. Credit: Supplied

COVID-19’s effect on the food-service sector underlined the importance of red meat to menus in commercial kitchens.

And this was the focus of Meat and Livestock Australia’s new live webinar initiative, Rare Medium Academy, to launch this month.

MLA’s food-service trade team, in consultation with the food-service industry, has developed the Rare Medium Academy series to educate and inspire food-service chefs to utilise Australian red meat in commercial kitchens.

The initiative aims to utilise new product development and cooking techniques while exploring the best cut for cook method.

The domestic food-service sector is a key channel for Australian red meat, typically sourcing approximately 28 per cent of Australia’s domestic beef supply and 15 per cent of sheepmeat supply.

MLA product and business development manager and corporate chef Samuel Burke said developing agile and innovative solutions to support the food-service sector in the current climate was vital.

“The food-service sector has experienced wide-scale shutdowns and operation restrictions across almost all States this year as a result of COVID-19,” he said.

“Consequently, the typical balance of demand for specific Australian red meat cuts has shifted and fluctuated through the different stages of COVID-19 shutdowns, causing substantial carcase utilisation challenges.”

Mr Burke said this had also affected processor supply chains through expanding demand in alternate channels.

“The other major challenge for the food-service industry is the unknown and unpredictable timeline for recovery,” he said.

“Any escalation of cases within a state is likely to see a re-introduction of restrictions and place many businesses back in a very challenging financial position.”

Mr Burke said COVID-19 prompted a rethink of food-service program delivery to ensure it was relevant and beneficial.

Rare Medium Academy will have its first live webinar on November 24, and will have a presence on LinkedIn Showcase, the Rare Medium website, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

“MLA’s food-service team will host a series of 30-minute, live showcase masterclasses for commercial food-service teams on themes that will help pivot their menus and guide them to success,” Mr Burke said.

MLA is also creating a library of 30 videos for YouTube., featuring tips, tricks and hacks to mentor food-service professionals to escalate their menus to the next level while maintaining costs, achieving a balanced meal and a delicious dish for their patrons.”

Mr Burke said the themes would include low and slow barbecue, summer lamb tips and tricks for food-service, red meat menu solutions for delivery service providers, great steaks and sides, power bowls and salads, grab and go sandwiches, wraps and burgers, wok tossed dishes, curries and braises, and roasts and carveries.

“MLA is also producing a series of videos taking commercial food-service leaders and executive chefs on-farm, straight to the source where they meet Australian producers,” he said.

“The participants will learn first-hand how Australia produces the best red meat in the world, then while on location, produce a dish that’s applicable to their business and will inspire others across the commercial food-service landscape.”

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