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California Beef Council Hosts 3rd Annual Beef Leadership Summit

Exclusive event brings together top-tier retail and foodservice professionals for a three-day educational immersion experience

PISMO BEACH, CA, Sept. 23, 2019--She travels with knives and she’s not afraid to use them.

Kari Underly, author, master butcher and recent judge on the popular TV show, “Chopped,” is breaking down a side of beef for a rapt audience of California retail and foodservice professionals. This author of the James Beard nominated book, The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising, and creator of the Range® Meat Academy online certificate program, wields her blade with the precision of a surgeon as she explains the cuts beginning to appear from the side of beef. “Many foodservice operators, cooks, chefs, and even butchers do not understand where the final cuts come from,” Underly says. “It seems they ‘just come out of a box.’ This lack of knowledge takes away from the ability to properly merchandise meat and help the consumer enjoy it.”

Welcome to the Beef Leadership Summit (BLS). For three years now, the California Beef Council (CBC) has produced this exclusive, invitation-only event that brings together top-tier retail and foodservice professionals for a three-day educational immersion experience. This year’s BLS, held September 18-20, focused on beef carcass innovation, sustainability, artificial intelligence, beef blockchain and traceability, beef production, antibiotic stewardship, and consumer beef insights. And for the 22 attendees, the information and behind-the-scenes look they get during this immersion experience gives them more confidence when they respond to consumer questions about beef.

“This program was started as an extension of the CBC’s popular ‘Pasture to Plate Beef Tour,’” said Christie Van Egmond, the California Beef Council’s Director of Retail & Foodservice Marketing. “We found that a number of our Pasture to Plate retail and foodservice attendees wanted a deeper dive into beef production, innovations in beef cuts, insights into consumer concerns and questions, and other detailed aspects of the beef sector of our food supply.”

The event location changes from year to year, allowing participation from a variety of different tour host sites throughout California and bringing attendees into contact with different people and places in the beef supply chain. This year’s event was held on the central coast and included a tour of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo’s J and G Lau Family Meat Processing Center, Underly’s beef carcass fabrication demonstration with a discussion of innovative beef cuts, and a tour of the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon. Topics and speakers for this year ranged from the opening keynote address by noted University of California, Davis Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist, Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D. on the topic, “Can We Eat Our Way Out of Climate Change,” to discussions on artificial intelligence, beef blockchain and traceability dynamics, and the role of consumer demand and food initiatives.

The Beef Leadership Summit is free for attendees, requiring that they cover only the cost of their own travel to and from the host site hotel. Space for the annual event is limited, and ideally, BLS participants have already been part of a prior Pasture to Plate Beef Tour.

“We like to think of the Beef Leadership Summit as Pasture to Plate 2.0,” Van Egmond said. “BLS is definitely a more detailed extension of the overview attendees experience on Pasture to Plate.”

For more information on the Beef Leadership Summit and the Pasture to Plate Beef Tour, contact Christie Van Egmond at christie@calbeef.org.


About the California Beef Council

The California Beef Council (CBC) was established in 1954 to serve as the promotion, research and education arm of the California beef industry, and is mandated by the California Food and Agriculture Code. The CBC’s mission is to position the California beef industry for sustained beef demand growth through promotion, research and education. For more information, visit www.calbeef.org.