Creativity on the Plate
Eye of round pâté. Bourbon-cured top round. Shanghai beef belly. Beef hough (aka shank). They’re all cutting-edge culinary creations not found on many, if any, restaurant menus today – but that could change, thanks to the influence and impact of the leading culinary masters applying their creativity to their preferred canvas: Certiﬁed Angus Beef ® brand cuts.
No matter how you slice it, this top-quality product is hitting the plate in ways never seen before, just about everywhere you look. Whether it’s new – or underutilized – cuts, traditional cuts simply butchered differently, or unique cooking techniques applied to tried-and-true favorites, culinary professionals all over are discovering new horizons with the protein of celebration. Chefs who are partial to the brand are at the forefront of this movement – both at the brand’s Culinary Center and in their own kitchens.
Chef Simon Brown from Seafood R’evolution in Jackson, Miss., holds the brand’s 2018 title of Culinary Innovator, honoring restaurant chefs who push the creative bounds of beef on the plate. One achievement capturing attention was Brown’s Certiﬁed Angus Beef ® short rib tomahawk, which looks like a long-bone steak but eats like a buttery piece of braised beef.
A native of Scotland, Brown explained he was trained to use every possible cut – a mindset that helps jumpstart his creativity as he thinks about the best ways to showcase each one. He also seeks inspiration from other culinary traditions – in this case, American barbecue, cooked low and slow to create a meltingly tender texture.
Though on its face a restaurant specializing in seafood, Brown says he and partners Chef John Folse and Chef Rick Tramonto want Seafood R’evolution to be known for its beef, as well. Exceeding expectations in quality, creativity and execution is essential, as is blending the influences and expertise for which they’re known: seafood, Louisiana Cajun Creole and Northern Italian via Chicago, respectively.
Brown represents just one of the many chefs intent on upending the status quo and showcasing beef in interesting, delicious and original ways.
Venture to the outskirts of Chicago and experience Greg and Kristina Gaardbo’s Chicago Culinary Kitchen, where seemingly each week the pair serves up something new and interesting at their weekends-only restaurant. Some recent iterations include Maryland-style smoked pit beef sandwiches using Certiﬁed Angus Beef ® bottom round flat; 40-oz. tomahawk steaks dry-aged on premise and lovingly referred to as the “Big Hoss;” and a smoked full short plate dubbed “Beef Wings.” The pair also serve a butterflied tomahawk, which they named a “Scorpion Steak” in honor of the formidable arachnid it resembles. The knife work not only allows for a faster cook time, but an even more impressive plate presentation.
Of course, when it comes to beef innovation, no one spends more time turning ideas into reality than Tony Biggs, the brand’s director of culinary arts, alongside the entire culinary team of chefs and meat scientists.
While many of his creations are influenced by his years cooking overseas in the Middle East and Asia, Biggs pulled a real showstopper from his bag of tricks at the brand’s Annual Conference, roasting an entire side of beef on a custom-built spit on the beach in Maui. While many hypothesized about how such an endeavor would turn out, Biggs’ confidence was well placed, as the 12-hour cook was not only visually impressive, but also produced hundreds of pounds of flavorful, slow-roasted beef perfect for any application.
Biggs was also the driving force behind the brand’s inaugural Culinary Ideation Day, where all six Certiﬁed Angus Beef ® brand chefs were given three days to bring their wildest beef ideas to fruition. The results from this “culinary think tank” included a wide-ranging menu of cuts, applications and flavors – including creative dishes from the round and a cured top sirloin “coulox” – that illustrate their quest.
That quest is not only to further elevate the brand experience, but also to inspire fellow chefs, beef-lovers, influencers and consumers as well, offering out-of-the- box ideas and conversation starters that deliver value and innovation.
SHARING INSPIRATION ONE PLATE AT A TIME
Taste is king, but culinary stories evoke all the senses. That’s why Instagram, with its focus on visual impact, is the go-to digital platform for sharing dishes and kitchen inspiration with innovative chefs, beef lovers and flavor seekers who join the conversation and help build buzz online.
Visual storytellers play an important part in sharing the brand’s stories written over 40 years of flavor. Among those who have been a part of the community since the early days are Debragga, New York’s Butcher®, and Chef John Doherty, whose illustrious career ranges from leadership of the iconic Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria to his current restaurant, Blackbarn.
The influential ambassadors welcomed a group of food, lifestyle and Hispanic media guests and social influencers into their businesses last summer. They showcased their roles in the brand community, ranging from a tour of the cut shop’s storied dry-aging room, to an exclusive eight-course, beef-centric meal at Blackbarn. Besides social media posts that reached the influencers’ million followers, media coverage highlighted the brand’s quality and positioned its community as resources for future stories about beef.
Relationships between the brand and influencers remained strong all year, with participants, like Ben Hon @stuffbeneats, David “Rev” Cianciao @revciancio, Jason Baker @jasoneats and Vinnie Todarello @johnnyprimecc, joining up with the brand at other chef-focused events to keep the storytelling going among an ever-widening audience hungry for more.