The North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) announced a brand new Center of the Plate Training course June 23 – 24 at Kendall College in Chicago, Ill.  Called “Center of the Plate Training II: Cuts to Culinary,” it’s a comprehensive course that will:


• demonstrate meat preparation and cooking techniques,

• answer questions about animal agriculture and animal welfare,

• explain “natural” and “organic” meat production and labeling,

• discuss the differences in branded meat programs, and

• give foodservice professionals insider tips on communicating effectively with customers and chefs.

NAMP developed the new course in response to demand from attendees at its Center of the Plate Training I courses, and from industry focus groups who said they wanted to learn more about those topics.

The course features:

• Steve Olson, NAMP’s master meat cutter & COP instructor, former USDA Meat Marketing Specialist, and author of USDA’s Institutional Meat Purchasing Specifications. He will cover grades, aging, packaging, and fabrication techniques, using NAMP’s new Meat Buyer’s Guide.

• Rick Gresh, Executive Chef at David Burke’s Primehouse at The James Hotel, Chicago, on talking to a chef or restaurant operator when making a sales call. He will demonstrate preparations of popular and innovative beef, pork, lamb and veal dishes.

• Chad Ellegood, Wine Director, Tru restaurant, Chicago, A Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant, on what people in the meat and foodservice industries need to know on how the meats they buy or sell are enhanced by the right wines, and The Goose Island Beer Company, “Chicago’s Craft Beer” on pairing specialty beers with cooked meats.

• Marty O’Connor, Chief of USDA AMS Standards, Analysis and Technology Branch (or other AMS representative) on the natural and organic movements, and the requirements and differences for various animal raising claims.

• Dr. Chris Calkins, Nebraska Beef Industry Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska, on branded meat programs and types of meat, and how animal production practices affect meat quality.

• Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the National Pork Board (NPB), and the American Lamb Board (ALB), and other groups who will address questions on animal production practices and animal welfare issues.

• Bill Kurtis, Founder and Chairman of Tallgrass Beef, and former television news anchor, who is the keynote speaker. 

The course features a Meat Tasting and Pairing with Wine & Specialty Beer pairing reception at The Drake Hotel. And just for fun, the course includes an outdoor lunch prepared on site by the “Chicago All Fired Up” food truck, Chicago’s first food truck and the only one licensed to prepare food on site.

Early course sponsors include The Beef Checkoff, The Pork Checkoff, and The Lamb Checkoff, as well as Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Tallgrass Beef, and the Goose Island Beer Company. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, or to register, go to

Source: NAMP