by Stephen Gerike
Chefs and foodservice professionals can see how pork is prepared in top kitchens across the country through the Pork Checkoff’s UNCUT video series. Launched in 2015, the series has featured 11 leading chefs demonstrating how they incorporate pork on their menus in unique and interesting ways.
The short, three- to four-minute videos showcase front- and back-of-house restaurant ambiance while also capturing each chef in their natural habitat. In relaxed conversations, the chefs share the inspiration for their restaurant and cooking style.
The videos also include a step-by-step demonstration of a pork menu item, highlighting innovative flavors and techniques. This is presented in a style that can be easily followed by professionals and skilled cooks. Each recipe and video are featured in the Pork Checkoff’s 400 Newsletter, which is geared toward foodservice professionals.
To select the featured chefs, we track upcoming trends and find innovators in those areas. For example, regional Asian cuisine is growing on menus, and chefs want to learn more.
In Houston, Chris Shepherd’s flagship restaurant, Underbelly, features dishes from the cuisines that make up the global population of his city, the culinary underbelly if you will. In his video, Shepherd creates a pork belly stew, called Thit Kho, using fresh pork belly and pork stock to create a sizzling presentation of the traditional comfort food.
Chef Brunson Transforms Underutilized Cut
With almost 1,000 views so far, the fan-favorite UNCUT video features Chef Justin Brunson. Based in Denver, Brunson runs an ever-expanding restaurant group, including his flagship restaurant Old Major.
The video shows Brunson preparing a mainstay on his charcuterie board, Porchetta di Testa, made with the pig’s head. He explains the popularity of charcuterie at Old Major and across the country while simultaneously teaching operators how to prepare an underutilized pork cut.
In 2016, the series expanded to include Bonus Cuts, a secondary dish demo or technique from a chef highlighted in a full-length UNCUT video.
This year, the series will introduce Making the Cut videos that focus on the versatility of pork, with a chef preparing one cut of pork in multiple ways. The first three Making the Cut videos will showcase the champion cuts (boneless loin, bone-in loin and ham) from the Taste of Now integrated marketing campaign.
To date, the UNCUT videos have been viewed over 5,400 times. And more important, the featured chefs in the videos are getting their peers excited about experimenting with pork and featuring new pork items on their menus.