Culinary Corner: New Vision for Culinary Programs

| December 19, 2023

The Culinary Team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has a new vision for culinary programs. The vision states:  To be the leading voice and resource for beef culinary knowledge, experiences, and innovation, from classic and cultural preparations to timely, future inspirations. This is focused on creating more exposure for the Culinary Center, but more importantly, creating more outreach and education programs centered around culinary professionals in the industry as well as educators and associations. The Culinary Team also plans to increase the number of recipes developed for, while increasing assistance to state beef councils.  

To realize this vision and revitalize culinary services, new team members and resources have been added. The program, led by Steven Wald, executive director, Culinary Innovations and Partnerships, welcomes two new members — Chef Dagan Lynn and Chef Paul Schutt bring a wealth of culinary knowledge and experience. Click here to learn more about the new executive chefs.

The key areas of focus in 2024 will revolve around the newly created vision while being mindful of consumers’ and professionals’ perspectives and needs, and still meeting the needs of internal and external stakeholders. Areas of focus include:
  • Creating on-trend and engaging recipes and culinary educational content that will inspire home cooks to desire beef more often, with an eye on well-being.
  • Increased focus on providing the best possible internal dining experiences to show beef at its best.
  • Maximizing the value and dining experience of less expensive beef cuts through exploration of cooking methods, flavors, and preparation techniques.
  • Increasing the knowledge of industry and culinary professionals through engagement, education, new creative content, and menu inspiration and solutions.
One of the focus areas above is maximizing the value of less expensive cuts. When shopping the meat department, consumers undoubtedly see the latest trend and retailers’ response to inflation — merchandising more ‘thin cuts.’ This helps retailers keep the package price closer to $10 and helps consumers in the same manner. There will continue to be more expensive cuts like Ribeyes, but most of these thin cuts will be from the Chuck, Shoulder and Round. With higher prices likely to persist across the next couple of years, more exploratory work and recipe development will focus on how to make these lean, thin cuts tender and delicious. 

Additionally, into the new year, the Culinary Team will explore ways of assisting consumers with their recipe searches on the website and making their time spent on the site more useful. For example, many recipe sites show step-by-step photos of the recipe process. After noting this trend and listening to the industry, consumers, and state partners, the team is reviewing the potential of adding this feature, among others, to the recipe pages. Throughout the coming year, the team anticipates having more than 25 new recipes available on that will not only support internal programs, but also the state beef councils and industry partners.