MEXICO CITY & MONTERREY, MEXICO – Getting into the classroom and educating students about U.S. rice is a major goal for USA Rice, and to reach those attending culinary school in Mexico, USA Rice conducts more than 40 competitions each year targeting these student chefs.
Two new culinary institutions here, Universidad Justo Sierra and Edayo, recently hosted USA Rice programs where students learned how to create and present gourmet restaurant-quality dishes using U.S.-grown rice as the main ingredient.
For the USA Rice program at Edayo a mock restaurant was created, giving the student chefs real-world restaurant industry experience. Using U.S. rice as the primary ingredient, students prepared a variety of main dishes and desserts that were then presented to a panel of judges and restaurant guests. This enabled the students to learn first-hand the value of rice as a high-yielding, adaptable ingredient.
“Gastronomy programs are popular in Mexico and several institutions are opening each year to meet the demand of aspiring chefs who want to enter the vibrant foodservice industry here,” said Brian King, chairman of USA Rice and also chairman of the USA Rice Western Hemisphere Promotion Subcommittee. “USA Rice activities encourage culinary institutions to include a rice course in their curriculum to teach about rice's great versatility and inspire the next generation of chefs to think about U.S. rice when it comes to creating new restaurant menus.”
To stay in touch with Mexico’s professional foodservice sector, last month USA Rice exhibited for the first time at Expo Proveedores de Restaurantes (Restaurant Suppliers Trade Show) held in Monterrey, known as "The City of Business" and ranked by Fortune magazine as the best city to do business in Latin America. An estimated 8,000 visitors, including employees and owners of thousands of restaurants, industrial cafeterias, catering companies, and hotels attended the trade show to make important connections.
“We included several U.S. origin rice packages at our booth to highlight the variety of rice types available in the market,” said Gaby Carbajal, USA Rice promotions director in Mexico.
Throughout the two-day show, USA Rice conducted cooking demonstrations to showcase U.S.-grown rice’s great versatility and easy preparation, and showed booth visitors how to incorporate more rice in their menus as a way of providing a healthy product while at the same time increasing profits.
“USA Rice also took advantage of this opportunity to visit new culinary institutions and supermarkets in this part of the country,” said Carbajal. “It was nice to see in the supermarkets here at least one of the brands using our ‘Authentic American rice’ logo. USA Rice developed this logo to make it easier for shoppers to find U.S. origin rice on the shelves.”