Veggies are trending in a big way right now (to the delight of increasingly health-conscious diners), but that doesn’t mean that chefs and restaurants have turned their backs on meat. What it does mean is that they’re more diligent than ever about where and how they source it from, which is only one of the themes we’ll explore in our upcoming Taste Talks panel, How We Eat Meat Now. And to get a little additional, advance insight, we went straight to the source ourselves, chatting about the changing face of the meat industry with David Flom, co-owner of the venerable steakhouse, Chicago Cut!
Veggie-forward dining is definitely a thing at restaurants nowadays (in fact, there's another Taste Talks panel devoted to it). But what major trends are we seeing in the world of meat?
The world of meat has always been about quality and that is a trend that is timeless. People want to see the best quality in meat that has ever been produced and that is why selecting USDA Prime, which only 3% of the world’s meat receives this honor, is something that we purchase exclusively. When people have quality meat, there is no need to dilute it with other flavors. By using simple ingredients like sea salt and pepper, the true flavor of the steak is able to come out and people are tasting something they might have ever had before.
How do you go about sourcing your meat at Chicago Cut?
We source from well known experienced ranchers that have produced USDA Prime beef for very long periods of time. We want the ranchers that are on 3rd or 4th generations of raising cattle in the highest level possible.
What are some specific topics you hope to address during your "How We Eat Meat Now" panel?
We would like to talk about the different things we look at when we butcher and dry age our meats. We want to address to qualities of the meat/cut that make it the best- fat content, marbling, etc. We also find it interesting which cuts are selected by women and others that are selected by men. We would also like to talk about preparation during the Taste Talks panel.
Most of us are familiar with buzzwords like "hormone-free" or "grass-fed," but what should people really look for when shopping for meat at home?
USDA PRIME-the highest grade of beef in USA. You can have any of the other buzzwords you want, but isn't it about grade first?
What do you consider to be some of the most over and underrated cuts of meat?
Top Sirloin is the most overrated. Skirt steak is the most underrated.
Taste Talks Food & Drink hits Chicago October 3-5, 2014. See the full schedule and buy tickets here.