Chef Forum in Beijing

The China Cuisine Association (CCA) worked with ASMI China to put together a significant Chef Forum event in Beijing from March 29-30. A Chef Contest, Nutrition Seminar and Chef Contest Award Ceremony & Appreciation Dinner were arranged. Featured products include Alaska salmon, pollock, Pacific cod, snow crab, black cod and halibut.

For the chef contest, a qualification round was started in February, 2009, which required online submissions, followed by a live cooking competition on March 29th. Around 300 chefs from Beijing & Tianjin registered with creative dishes fusing traditional Chinese & Alaska seafood. There were 90 finalists in total. The seafood products provided by ASMI China were Alaska sockeye salmon, Pacific cod and pollock. It should be indicated that Pacific cod and pollock were used for the first time in this contest. For the contestants, sockeye salmon is the compulsory product while it is optional to use pollock or Pacific cod. The final winners are graded from levels 1-8 with one grand prize winner (a female chef from Beijing Westin Hotel) chosen after rounds of elimination judged by 5 high-profiled chefs.

The nutritional seminar was held the following day, on March 30th. ASMI staff gave a detailed presentation about the healthy and nutritional benefits of Alaska seafood as well as the special characteristics of Alaska seafood being wild, natural and sustainable. Two senior professional nutrition specialists were also cordially invited to give an educated speech about the nutritional value of seafood nutrition at the seminar. All the chef finalists attended the nutrition seminar and received an informative lecture about Alaska seafood. The prepared brochures were given out to the participating contestants, including the Alaska seafood nutrition story, fact sheet & sustainability introduction. At the end of the seminar, a few chefs couldn’t stop asking the guest nutritionists about the special seafood characteristics and what benefits they can bring to human health. The communication & interaction was active and very productive.

The Chef Contest Award Ceremony & Appreciation Dinner was held right after the Nutrition Seminar, where all the participating chefs, 25 local media units, plus some local seafood traders were all invited, totaling 130 participants. Mr. Eric Trachtenberg, Director of ATO Beijing, was present at the event and gave a welcoming speech and ASMI staff delivered a speech as well. Moreover, a judge of the contest gave a few remarks on the chef contest in which he spoke highly of the Alaska Seafood as a top supplier of seafood and encouraged the participating chefs to further use such quality seafood ingredients in their nutrition menus. The winners were granted certificates. A wide variety of Alaska seafood was showcased and attracted all the participants. Alaska seafood was served during the reception.

During the Appreciation Dinner, the communication between the invited chef contestants & seafood traders was activated and mutual understanding was further deepened by such opportunity. This will help push the Alaska seafood sales volume in the future.

The invited 25 media journalists were also excited about Alaska seafood and actively involved in the communication of the traders & chefs. They will have the Contest & Award events reported in the related media. The coverage with an estimated value of USD 20,000 is being collected accordingly.

Through the Chef Forum, more chefs have become interested in Alaska Seafood products and then recognized Alaska Seafood as a top seafood supplier. Many chefs expressed their intentions to use it by contacting some of the local suppliers of Alaska seafood products. More importantly, the contestants were given an opportunity to experience the quality of Alaska seafood by using them as main ingredient and now can tell the difference by such experience.

It was the first time that pollock was provided for the contest. Such price-pointed seafood involvement in the contest helps local chefs develop different ways to serve quality seafood as well as control budget of hotels & restaurants. Beijing Westin Hotel, JW Marriot, Intercontinental, Hutu Lou Restaurant and Lichang Seafood Restaurant intend to use the Alaska seafood in their menu. Since the Chef Contest started online, the contest has attracted about 300 specially developed recipes with creative focus on fusing nutrition into the menu. Each of the qualifying contestants then further created 2 more recipes at the final round, adding up to about 500 recipes in total.

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