USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee and the Idaho Potato Commission, along with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), hosted a series of culinary events in Chicago last month. A delegation of Idaho agricultural companies and commodity organizations met with foodservice restaurateurs, chefs, distributors, culinary educators and the press to sample and promote superior Idaho products.
Idaho representatives participated in four key events including an Idaho Customer Appreciation Reception; a Media and Foodservice Educators Reception at Kendall College; and an Idaho grill-off using Idaho beef, onions and potatoes at the Weber Grill Academy.
Additionally, students from area culinary colleges participated in a Young Chef Competition featuring Idaho products at a cook-off held at Le Cordon Bleu College. The top three finalists won scholarship awards of $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third-place finishes. The winning recipe featured a potato and gouda crusted trout, Idaho potato blini and a USA onion red chutney served with white sturgeon caviar.
USA Onions/Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee and the Idaho Potato Commission were primary sponsors of the Idaho Culinary Celebration in Chicago. Six additional Idaho companies – Clear Springs Foods, Agri Beef Co., 13 Foods, Fish Processors of Idaho, Southwind Farms and Glanbia Foods – rounded out the Idaho participants. Onions from Idaho and Eastern Oregon, Idaho potatoes, beef, pork, trout, caviar, catfish, sturgeon and cheese were promoted at the key events in Chicago. Idaho wines and vodka also were served at both receptions.
“USA Onions was proud to work with the Idaho Potato Commission and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to bring so many regionally produced products to the Chicago culinary scene,” says Sherise Jones, marketing director for USA Onions. “We brought our culinary celebration to Chicago because it is a big market for us and it is a city full of top-notch culinary institutions, educational facilities, restaurants, and chefs. The promotion provided opportunities for USA Onions, Idaho Potatoes and other Idaho food companies to build and expand their business in Chicago by showcasing the value and quality of our products.”
The delegation included Idaho companies looking to expand sales, build distribution networks in Chicago, and strengthen existing customer relationships. USA Onions and Idaho Potatoes have been doing business in Chicago for years while others explored the key foodservice market for the first time.