Idaho crop groups, food companies make their pitch in Chicago

Statesman staffFebruary 25, 2014 

Students prepare Idaho products last week at the Young Chef Competition at Le Cordon Bleu College in Chicago.

PROVIDED BY IDAHO STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Idaho agricultural companies and commodity groups took part in a series of culinary events in Chicago last week to persuade chefs and others involved in food services of the value of Idaho food products.

Among the events were a Young Chef Competition at a cook-off held at Le Cordon Bleu College and an Idaho grill-off using Idaho beef, onions, and potatoes at the Weber Grill Academy.

USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee and the Idaho Potato Commission were primary sponsors of the Idaho Culinary Celebration. The state Department of Agriculture and six Idaho companies — Clear Springs Foods, Agri Beef, 13 Foods, Fish Processors of Idaho, Southwind Farms and Glanbia Foods – also took part. Some were exploring Chicago's food-service market for the first time.

“The culinary celebration in Chicago was a great success at showcasing Idaho products to a city full of top-notch culinary institutions, educational facilities, restaurants and chefs,” said Celia Gould, director of the state Agriculture Department. She said Chicago has "enormous potential" for Idaho suppliers.

Alan Kahn of Clear Springs Trout in Buhl said, "I believe it gave the chefs new information to think about when they choose what products to use in the future.”

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