From fast food restaurants to Michelin rated restaurants, who makes the decision on what food goes on the menu? Of course, the answer is chefs and culinary specialists. Part of the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s most recent efforts in many international countries has involved bringing U.S. dairy products to thought leaders in these areas through trainings provided at culinary schools.
During the January 19 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, Missouri dairy farmer Alex Peterson described his experience visiting one of these culinary institutes during a recent trade mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“I’ll start with a question that I asked one of our hosts in Dubai, ‘What does authentic Emirati cuisine look like?’ They laughed at me because there’s really very few actual people there from the UAE,” Peterson described. “It’s a cross-section and melting pot of the world. That’s what makes a culinary school there such an incredible opportunity.”
Not only is UAE known for being a cultural melting pot, but it is also one that is considered a trendsetter and leading voice, especially in the area of cuisine and bringing together flavors from across the world.
“Dubai is really a trendsetting part of the world, we’re talking about a city that has 12,000 restaurants, 600 hotels, and it reaches people from all over the world, not just the Middle East,” Peterson described. “We are getting to touch such a huge region by influencing the people there.”
The culinary school engages in an intensive USA Cheese Guild training program that Peterson says helps students learn more about cheese, where it comes from, and the quality, reliability, and variety of American cheeses.“We sat down with this class of 22 students, and for over an hour we answered their questions about our farms, about dairy in general, about environmental standards and practices, and a number of other things,” Peterson reported.
In his mind, the most noteworthy part of the culinary school visit was just seeing the broad influence of the classes.
“There were 15 or 20 different countries represented in the class that we were talking to. People from all over, and they are going to get trained in Dubai and some of them will eventually go to other places. Anytime you can impact someone, they take that with them wherever they go,” he concluded.
To watch the recording of the January 19 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
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