Latin cooking is known for robust flavors and the generous use of pork, and these ingredients added extra gusto to the Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) recent symposium featuring world-class Latin/Spanish/Mexican cuisine.
“This was a great opportunity to illustrate pork’s versatility and pivotal role it plays in Latin culinary culture,” says David Bottagaro, national foodservice marketing manager for the Pork Checkoff. “It also reinforced pork’s image as the major player on the world flavor stage and its impact on menu development in the foodservice industry.”
More than 100 national culinary and marketing professionals, along with leading experts in the cuisine and cultures of Latin America, attended the CIA’s Latin Flavors event, which the Pork Checkoff sponsored in San Antonio this fall. Pork was showcased during the Latin-inspired breakfasts, evening receptions at the outdoor fire kitchen and a lunch that featured a Pork Torta Ahogada— a sandwich of marinated, chile-rubbed roasted pork loin on authentic Bolillo Birote bread.
“It’s our responsibility to stay one step ahead of the shifting trends and influence the culinary and marketing decision makers,” says Bottagaro, who notes that attendees loved the Pork Torta Ahogada. “We demonstrated how pork, with just a few key ingredients, can have a major impact on the menu and the foodservice operator’s bottom line.”
Pork elevates the dining experience
This message resonated with the corporate/research-and-development chefs, purchasing/supply managers, marketing executives, dietitians and other foodservice professionals who are seeking more knowledge about the booming Latino population’s taste preferences and buying patterns.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the Latino population is expected to soar to 102.6 million by 2050, meaning Latinos will represent 24 percent of the U.S. population in the near future. Their sheer numbers will have a major impact on marketing strategies and menu development for the U.S. foodservice industry, says Bottagaro, who adds that Latin flavors are on trend as consumers desire ethnic dining experiences with more authentic, flavorful foods.
“Pork is deeply rooted in Latin, Spanish and Mexican traditional cooking. We want to show how foodservice professionals can leverage this to elevate the dining experience and drive consumer loyalty by introducing or expanding pork’s presence as premium menu item.”
Partnership promotes culinary education
These insights are invaluable, says Doug Goettsch, director of corporate relations for the CIA, a non-profit educational institution.
“The Pork Checkoff’s sponsorship of Latin Flavors and other CIA events is paramount to the success of our foodservice education programs. These seminars help operators learn ways to improve their profitability by including pork on their menu and enhancing pork’s flavor through specific cooking and seasoning techniques.”
The CIA values its ongoing partnership with the Pork Checkoff, Goettsch adds. “Their support allows us to further educate today’s foodservice operators, elevate great culinary traditions and carry forth our message that food matters.”