From beef packers to distributors, retailers and restaurants, all contribute equally to making the beef world go round.
But while there is some integration on the product side, the folks on each end of the table – ranchers and chefs – rarely cross paths, said Tracey Erickson, vice president of marketing for Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB).
“When they do meet,” she said, “they share a commitment equally strong.”
In an effort to join forces with these beef enthusiasts and share their stories, CAB invited culinary masters to a ranch excursion. They accepted, taking off their aprons to visit with the men and women responsible for raising the quality of beef marketed in their restaurants.
Erickson said a July photo shoot near the small towns of Dillon and Harrison, Mont., produced images and video for a campaign that communicates the relationship between rancher and chef, inviting all to join in the CAB party.
Launched in trade magazines like Food Arts, Restaurant Business, and Plate this September, the “Join Our Table” promotional series will circulate for two years, targeting chefs and restaurant owners, Erickson said.
“One goal is to ignite more working relationships between our brand and those in the foodservice industry,” she added. “The campaign shows the passion of those already associated with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, and invites others to take part in this greater community.”
The table is a key image in the series, symbolizing the connections and community that comprise CAB, as well as their calling to deliver premium beef, Erickson explained. Restaurateur and rancher share ideas over that table.
“We are a global brand with a grassroots foundation,” said Mark McCully, CAB vice president of production. “Everything starts with the ranchers and the cattle they raise, and these messages are another way to share that with those who buy the beef.”
Once the backdrop for old Western movies, the mountains and valleys of Montana set the stage for this scenic meeting of the minds, McCully noted. That location in Big Sky Country is home to ranchers Jim and Tammi Sitz, their four children and the hundreds of Angus cows that graze their land.
For the Sitz family, hosting visitors at table and on the ranch last summer underscored their common ground.
“Working with chefs makes us realize how important quality is to them,” Jim Sitz said. “They must have a consistent product. And it’s important for them to see the efforts we’re making to give them that product.”
Whether in the field or kitchen, on horseback or behind the grill, the days of rancher and chef are long, filled with hard work and an honest living.
“Coming to a place like this and meeting the ranchers is an amazing experience,” said Chef Cindy Hutson, whose Ortanique Cuisine of the Sun restaurants serve up amazing meals from Florida to Grand Cayman and The Bahamas.
“You can hear about it and you can read about what ranchers do and the care they take, and the turmoil and the success and everything they go though,” she said. “But to actually come out and experience the rancher’s life, it brings it home; it makes it into a bigger family.”
For more information on the campaign, visit www.JoinOurCABTable.com.