The Canada Beef Launch in Manila

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People love beef, that’s a fact. From Argentina to Zaire, beef plays a role in defining the unique tastes of many cuisines around the world, and the Philippines is certainly not an exception. With the growing popularity of beef products in the country, from fast food offerings to premium menus, it’s no wonder that the Canadian cattle industry has taken a keen interest in introducing high-quality Canadian beef to the Philippine market.

The Canada Beef Launch
The Canada Beef Launch

It all sounds very industrial, but that’s because it’s how Canadian beef is handled by the Canada Beef International Institute (CBII), the leading representative for marketing and promotion of Canadian Beef worldwide. It’s a very big industry with a very strict set of quality standards that every Canadian cattle raiser adheres to.

Canadian Beef Pot Pie
Canadian Beef Pot Pie

As John Baker, the Executive Vice President for Global Marketing of Canada Beef Inc. says, “quality is in our nature” – and he actually means it. Canada is one of the best places in the world to raise cattle because of its climate, the availability of clean water, and high-quality feed grain. Canadian cattle raisers feed their animals with barley and corn which is the reason for Canadian beef’s unique flavour and its distinctive marbling, that quality of beef that every knowledgeable chef would want to find in the steak that he serves to the most discerning customers.

Chef Christine Zarandin
Chef Christine Zarandin

Because of the Canadian industry’s dedication to quality, Canadian Beef is on the upswing in terms of popularity and availability worldwide. At present, Canada is the 5th largest exporter of cattle, dealing with a hundred countries around the world for its estimated 250,000 metric tons of beef-related exports every year. With this kind of volume, Canada relies on a very well-organized system of quality assurance, a practice that has given Canadian Beef the “trust, esteem, and a globally-recognized reputation for food safety.” We were treated to a first-hand view of the kind of quality that Canadian Beef is known for at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City last November 8, 2013.

Frozen Canada Beef
Frozen Canada Beef

The event was called simply the “Canada Beef Launch.” During the event, there was a cooking demonstration featuring some of the most prime cuts of Canadian beef that was available on display. The dishes from the cooking demo tasted as good as they looked! The beef actually tasted “cleaner” and had a whole lot more flavour in every bite, a quality that is readily attributable to the practice of feeding Canadian cattle with high-quality feed grain.

Mini Strawberry Pies
Mini Strawberry Pies

I had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with John Baker and Daisuke Shimojima of Canadian Beef Inc. to talk about the finer points of Canadian beef and cattle-raising. I learned that Canadian cattle raisers stock Angus, Charolais, Hereford and other British breeds of cattle because they are better adapted to the North American climate and environment.

Roasted Canada Beef
Roasted Canada Beef

We also got to talk in greater length about the value of high-quality feed grain in producing beef that is generally well-marbled, flavourful, and possess the white-coloured fat that is the measure of quality in the culinary side of things. It is for this reason that Canada produces more than fifty million metric tonnes of high-quality barley and corn feed grain every year. In addition, they also highlighted the fact that Canada has vast amounts of water resources that is very critical in raising the best cattle in the world. Both John Baker and Daisuke Shimojima also spoke about the business side of importing Canadian beef to the Philippines and the kind of markets that they are targeting for their product.

Sandwich with Grilled Canadian Beef
Sandwich with Grilled Canadian Beef

Specifically, they would like to do business with the market that caters to restaurants and hotels because of the apparent volume and cost that is required in the importation of such high-quality beef. They would, however, still welcome other channels if it means greater awareness and promotion of Canadian beef in the Philippines.

Small Pies with Beef Bacon Strips
Small Pies with Beef Bacon Strips

The second part of the event included a presentation by John Baker about the advantages of Canadian beef as a product and as a growing industry in the Philippines. There was a large crowd that gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in spite of the bad weather to learn more about Canadian beef, a good indication by any standard that high-quality Canadian beef has a promising future in the Philippines.

One of the dishes made from Canada Beef
One of the dishes made from Canada Beef

It was also at this point that the hotel staff of the Fairmont Hotel started to serve food made from beef and other native Canadian ingredients. The highlight of the food service was, of course, the Canadian Angus Beef prepared by Chef Christine Zarandin, the Senior Chef de Cuisine of the Fairmont. The tender and flavourful Angus was absolutely deserving of being the main attraction of the event, it served as the only proof that was needed of the quality that can be expected from Canadian beef.

Chef Zarandin started cooking at the Fairmont in the early part of 2013 after coming from the legendary Manila Hotel and after years of work at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in the US. The Canadian Beef Launch in the Philippines was both educational and a magnificent tour of all the advantages to be had from Canadian beef.

Personally, I gained a wealth of knowledge about the business of Canadian beef from being at the Canadian Beef Launch at the Fairmont Hotel. Of course, I also had more than a mouthful of some of the most incredible food from Canada and, more importantly, I had the chance to enjoy the flavour of one of the best beef in the world!

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