The U.S. Meat Export Federation descended upon Central America recently, to debunk some myths about cooking pork and to educate the hotel, restaurant and institutional sector on the quality and versatility of U.S. pork. Funded by the National Pork Board, the cooking seminars were conducted in Panama and Honduras and covered the attributes and advantages of U.S. pork, as well as the proper storage and handling of specific cuts.
“We realize how important it is for the staff of hotels and restaurants to be familiar with the various cuts of U.S. pork and how to prepare and cook each cut properly,” says Lucia Ruano, USMEF representative in Central America and the Dominican Republic. “There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about how to cook pork across the region, so this was an opportunity to demonstrate how to bring out the great flavor of U.S. pork. We invited kitchen managers and purchasing managers, along with other decision-makers for these HRI companies.”
In Panama, more than 50 employees of the Proserv, Pretelt and Monte Azul foodservice companies participated in the seminar.
“The ultimate goal is for these people to go back to work and share information about U.S. pork – how to handle it and how to cook it properly,” says Ruano. “Each of these companies has been working in the market for 15 to 20 years, offering services to hotels, restaurants and related businesses, so the seminar attendees represented a lot of experience in the HRI industry.”
USMEF consultant Saul Bueso opened each seminar with an overview of the U.S. pork industry, explaining the breeds of hogs raised in the U.S. and other details on U.S. production practices.
In Panama, Chef Alonso Williams demonstrated proper cooking processes and offered professional tips for preparing popular recipes, including pork loin stuffed with herbs and baby back ribs.
In Honduras, chefs, grill cooks and servers at the El Manzano restaurant attended the USMEF seminar. As in Panama, Bueso shared information about the origins of U.S. pork, while USMEF Chef Pablo Lou explained the cooking process and offered several recipe tips, with a specific focus on St. Louis-style ribs.