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Stellar Client Support to Make Meat a Star

Meredith McDuffie

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New Orleans is a culinary capital known for its seafood dishes: oysters Rockefeller, shrimp creole and court-bouillon are just a few in a long, distinguished list. But as a former resident I know firsthand that meat is an important part of local cuisine – it just hasn’t gotten the PR it deserves. The city is home to no less than a dozen BBQ restaurants and at least that many dedicated steakhouses. In fact, most people are surprised to hear that popular steakhouse Ruth’s Chris originated in New Orleans as a 60-seat restaurant called Chris’ Steak House.

The lack of meat representation in the Big Easy created the perfect place to raise awareness for Tyson Fresh Meats’ Chairman’s Reserve® brand within the foodservice industry.

So, in early April, Midan’s foodservice team traveled to support Tyson Fresh Meats as the title sponsor of the area’s premier foodie event, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE). The high-quality beef and pork branded offering from Chairman’s Reserve Meats would be a standout amongst the other dishes being offered – most of which were seafood.

Our incredible experience at NOWFE served up two key points to help ensure success when promoting meat brands at food shows:  1) choose an event that allows for total culinary immersion and 2) partner with a primo celebrity chef.

Location, Location, Location

NOLA offered the perfect backdrop of culture and cuisine. The first NOWFE sponsored activity was a cochon de lait – traditionally, a gathering of friends and family featuring whole roast suckling pig. Our guests also dined on dishes of Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork prepared by local chefs Nathanial Zimet of Boucherie (“butcher” in French), Jimi Setchim of Broussard’s and James Cruse of Central City BBQ while being treated to zydeco music and a history of whole hog BBQ. The event was a great way for our client to showcase Chairman’s Reserve Meats to area chefs and foodies while also basking in the Cajun culture.

A Perfect Pairing

We knew we needed a top-notch chef in the area to partner with Chairman’s Reserve Meats in order to gain the attention of fellow culinarians and industry influencers. In the months leading up to the event we worked with the organizer to connect Tyson Fresh Meats with New Orleans celebrity chef Michael Gulotta of Maypop and MOPHO.

The highlights of the weekend were the Grand Tastings, which had guests sampling and talking with New Orleans chefs and winemakers from across the country. At the Grand Tastings, Chef Gulotta served two dishes featuring Chairman’s Reserve Meats: ham-brined pork belly and beef short rib marmalade. We heard repeatedly they were the best bites of the weekend – against an impressive lineup that included butter poached oysters, Gulf blue crab bisque and crawfish crepes from the top restaurants in town. It was a successful showcase of our client’s top tier beef and pork brand to some of the country’s most seafood-forward palates.

I’ve visited New Orleans a handful of times since moving away, but never as a marketer specializing in meat! So, in my spare time I walked around to see what the city had to offer meat-centric foodies. As I suspected, it wasn’t hard to find the love New Orleans has for meat. Cochon Butcher is a call to old-timey meat markets – crafting, smoking and curing all their meats in house. Port of Call has lines around the corner with locals waiting to eat what I believe is the best burger in the country. In the Irish Channel you’ll find corned beef po’boys in place of Reubens in corner pubs. New Orleans restaurants will undoubtedly always be known for their famous seafood dishes – Drago’s char-grilled oysters, Mr. B’s Bistro BBQ shrimp, K-Paul’s blackened drum. But as Midan was able to demonstrate to Tyson Fresh Meats, beef and pork are starring on restaurant menus across the city in delicious abundance, making it a prime market for Chairman’s Reserve® Meats. And teaming with the amazing Chef Gulotta at a renowned food event in a city known for its culinary flair completely sealed the deal in giving seafood a run for its money.