Future Chefs Beef Up Knowledge


A renewed partnership with the Arizona Culinary Institute sparked a beef community tour for students on May 11, 2023. Ten students and instructors from this elite Arizona school joined the Arizona Beef Council for a tour of the JBS, Tolleson beef harvesting plant. Following the tour and lunch, a beef educational session was presented.  

The JBS tour was facilitated by Bill Munns and led by Mario Rodriguez, who gave an in-depth tour of this large beef harvesting plant which included details related to animal handling, sustainability, and beef markets. As is a usual reaction, students commented on the cleanliness of the facility, and the results of the post-tour survey showed similar sentiments.  

Following the tour, students and instructors were shuttled back to the Arizona Beef Council office, where Chef Alex Reitz, associate director of the Beef Culinary Center for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, taught about umami and how to incorporate the intense flavor profile into dishes to create bolder and more satisfying flavors with beef. This portion of the presentation included a taste test comparing soy sauce alone to soy sauce mixed with beef broth. Skittles were also used to show the difference between taste and flavor. Quality grades of beef, along with different methods of raising cattle, were covered, along with a taste test. Students and instructors were challenged to figure out what each sample was, with one student accurately identifying the correct cuts.  

Data from the post-tour surveys showed that students and instructors gained an understanding of how cattle are harvested and more confidence in animal handling practices. These culinary students will take all they experienced into their careers as advocates for beef and their skills and knowledge will transfer to beef menu features.  

This tour was made possible from funding from the Iowa Beef Industry Council, in an effort to reach consumers in high population states.

About the Beef Checkoff Program          

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA Approval. For more information, visit BeefBoard.org.           

About the Arizona Beef Council         

The Arizona Beef Council is a non-profit organization served by a Governor-appointed nine-member board of directors representing cattle growers, cattle feeders, and dairy farmers. These volunteers oversee Arizona’s Beef Checkoff-funded programs. 

About the Iowa Beef Industry Council   

The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head national Beef Checkoff Program and the $0.50-per-head Iowa State Beef Checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. For more information, visit iabeef.org.