Discussing Trends and Eating Meat at the Mansion

Just back from the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek for a Fine Food Trends for 2009 luncheon, thrown by the Winn Meats folks. So Jamie Samford from Winn was there, along with Joe Harris from the Southwest Meat Association, chef Paul Rothe from Ben E. Keith, and chef Alan Turner from Snake River Farms in Idaho. So, obvs, we talked about meat a lot. These four guys spoke to a group of about 15 of us (Cathy Barber from the DMN, Jim White from Savor Dallas, Greg Fields from WFAA, among others) about food trends for this year and the state of the economy.

And we ate. A lot. This is a platter of Kurobuta pork short rib. Yep, it was amazing. Also on the menu: an amuse of sous-vide pork jowls, Kurobuta skirt steak, Wagyu sirloin, Wagyu short ribs, and Wagyu flat iron steak. Can someone please lift my head off the keyboard? Thank you.

Jump for what they talked about, and another pic of what we ate. Also, info about who is cooking at the Mansion now.

John Tesar was supposed to be a part of this panel, so the next obvious question is, “who’s cooking down there?” Executive sous chef Eric Brandt is now the man in charge. He’s been at the Mansion for a while, and worked with both JT and Dean, so he’s good to go. Even more proof of this? The food he made for this lunch was outstanding. He brought out all the entrees to us (served family style), and told us about them. He’s well-spoken and smart. Maybe he should take over…

This was a lunch that lasted a couple of hours. I’ll sum it up. Times are tight. Foods will have to wow. People want more bang for the buck, but they’re also concerned with health and nutrition. They want a story about where the meat comes from.

Mega trends (according to Samford): Responsibly produced ingredients, healthy foods, simple foods

Emerging trends: Playful, experimental foods, farm association, philosophy-driven food, new approaches to value

Hot cuisines: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern (specific regions), Latin specific, sophisticated BBQ, African, Scandinavian, burgers

Ingredients: Big beans like lima, charcuterie (specifically salumi), Asian noodles, artisinal everything

Techniques/Other: Sous vide, sweet/savory convergence, smoking

Joe sez: Look for growth in “natural” as a label for beef. Definition: minimally processed, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives.

Paul sez: Look for growth in organic produce, different types of produce (baby and heirloom, for example), and more vegetables on the plate as chef/restaurants try to keep plates full but costs down.

Alan told us about Snake River, and how their Kobe Frankfurter was the #8 hottest food at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, according to the SF Chronicle. He also told us about American Wagyu beef and Kurobuta pork. For those who don’t know, Wagyu cattle have a different molecular chain that cows around here usually do. They have 2 unsaturated fats to every fat, so the fat melts at a higher temperature. They don’t do any of that massaging or feeding cows sake or anything like that, but they’re super concerned with the animal and it’s treatment. They eat corn, potatoes, and alfalfa, among other things. Wagyu is a cross between American Angus cattle and Japanese Wagyu cattle. Kurobuta pork is also called Berkshire pork. American Kurobuta is raised on small farms throughout the midwest. Because of genetics, the pork is redder, even when cooked, and way juicier. It can be cooked for a long time and still be super-tender. That’s when Jamie jumped in to tell us another trend: Cooking pork mid-rare, especially the Kurobuta kind.

Okay, last thoughts. Jamie recommended the McCormick Flavor Forecast as another way to look at trends. Read about it here. One he uses from a couple years back: salted pistachio and crystalized ginger.

Joe says we should look out for a new kind of cattle called “low-lying.” They are apparently Angus cattle that were discovered on some island. There haven’t been any other cows around them, so they have the same genetic makeup as Angus from the 1950s. I googled and didn’t find anything, so now we all have a little beefy insider info.

That’s all. I’m off to work out for about six hours. Or not. Bye.


  • busy

    Wow, what a load of nothing!

  • bc

    But not too busy to be a jerk. Wonder who?

  • kathie

    you know, i am sick of people like Busy. That comment is uncalled for. This person went to a seminar and filed a report that had some interesting information. What a horrible thing to say.

  • Super Concerned

    I agree with kathie. This is fascinating!

    We now know, thanks to some fortune-telling meat salesmen, that “Mediterranean [encompassing, oh, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek], Middle Eastern (specific regions [like Turkey, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt]), Latin specific [like Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Brazilian, Argentine, Peruvian, and Chilean], sophisticated BBQ, African [no need to get specific, because they all eat the same things everywhere in Africa, right?], Scandinavian [Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish], burgers [who would have guessed?]” are going to be hot in ’09. Now we all know what to expect in the year ahead!

    I now know that Kurobuta pork is also called Berkshire pork. (I would love to learn why the English-speaking world calls this wondrous Japanese import Berkshire, rather than Kurobuta.)

    Also, I now know that people will want more bang for their buck in 2009, unlike 2007 when everyone wanted to pay more and be underwhelmed.

    Baby and heirloom vegetables? What are those? I’ll have to wait to see in the months ahead.

  • Congress of the Cow

    I like steak.

  • Worzel Gummidge

    Did Eric cook the sous vide pork jowls?

    How was it?

  • Mark

    Sounds very interesting and informative, but Greg Fields, isn’t that the weather guy?

  • Congress of the Cow

    Did Greg FIelds have a telestrator to point out the high and low pressure trends?

  • Miss Manners

    Responsibly produced ingredients, healthy foods, simple foods are mega trends?


  • ArtiSinsational

    Don’t forget “artisinal everything.”

  • Instead of Googling “low-lying” cattle, she should try “Chirikof Island” cattle.

    “Chirikof Island”…”Low Lyin’.” It’s a mistake anyone could make.

    All Sarah The Sage needed was a Beefy Insider.

  • luniz

    yea I’d also be interested in hearing a little bit more about what you ate Sarah, in particular the pork jowls..

  • this report…

    made me hungrier than any I’ve read on SideDish in a long time. Man, there is a lot of talent and knowledge in this town when it comes to food.

    anyone else snicker at the line,
    “all sarah the sage needed was a beefy insider”?

  • Sarah,
    I’m glad you enjoyed our product at lunch yesterday! Chef Eric did an outstanding job with the Wagyu beef and the Kurobuta pork. I would love to answer Super Concerned’s question about the Berkshire and Kurobuta if I may. The Berkshire breed is originally from England, and traded to Japan in the 19th century. The Japanese prize it highly so…we call it Kurobuta, Japanese for “Black Pig”. I hope that answers your question!
    Thanks again Sarah for the kind words.
    Chef Alan

  • Brandy

    Sarah- You are like the best note taker EVER! Wow. Great blog. Oh, my husband and I ate lunch at the Mansion today… it was FANTASTIC! Very expensive, but excellent nonetheless. Wouldn’t normally drop almost $300 on lunch (first courses plus entrees, three glasses of wine btwn us, dessert and coffee plus tip) but it was our anniversary and they were running a promo where you get two tickets to the Dallas Art Fair sooooo we splurged.

  • Brandy

    oh the whole point of that was to say how delicious the braised short ribs were. Heavenly, melt in your mouth good.

  • Brandy

    oh and Busy… get a life.

  • Brandy

    Oops… I’m turning into serial comment-er here, but wanted to make a correction, lest people jump on me… Typo, 200 not 300. Ok, clear.

  • I am not saying that this pork was wonderful but it isn’t Kurobuta pork.
    The only REAL Kurobata Pork is from pigs raised in Japan. There’s a complete breeding, feeding and management system that has to go with it. The pigs must be certified purebred, under Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) rules passed January 2000, if the meat is to be sold under the Kurobata classification.

    Pork being sold as Kurobuta in the United States is just Berkshire pigs not real Kurobuta. There is a difference and it is not just marketing like these farms are doing. All Kurobuta pork comes from Berkshire pigs. That does not mean that meat from all Berkshire pigs is Kurobuta pork.

  • I saw the infomercial and was like oh my gosh that’s amazing, but now reading all these comments I’m unsure.