BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Earlier this month, USA Rice partnered with the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to conduct a culinary seminar for the hotel, restaurant, and institutional sector here. The interactive session was led by Executive Chef Bernardo Gómez, a professor and member of the Colombia Gastronomical Academy and honorary member of the Colombian Chef Association.
More than 60 participants learned about different types of U.S.-grown rice and rice preparation techniques. Of particular interest to the chef participants was learning to use the right type of rice for a particular recipe.
“Colombia is largely a long grain market,” said John Valpey, chairman of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee. “This seminar is designed to broaden chefs’ horizons here and encourage them to have fun with their recipes and to know that there is always a U.S.-grown rice that will go perfectly with their cooking.”
Colombia is a new and important market for U.S rice. The market went from essentially zero U.S. rice exports in 2011 to more than 329,000 metric tons in 2015 thanks to the 2012 U.S-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that established a Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for U.S. rice. Imports of U.S. rice have outpaced the TRQ every year and the government of Colombia recently announced a tender for an additional 200,000 metric tons of rice in response to domestic production shortfalls as a result of El Niño.
USA Rice is optimistic that the United States will be able to participate in the emergency needs of the country, but either way, promotions in the country are still important as U.S. rice is still a relatively new experience for most Colombians.