With scenic New England as the backdrop, the annual event on the Wagyu calendar was an experience to remember.
The sponsors this year dug deep with over $60,000 raised. With the support and dedication from the “local” sponsor, Sheila Patinkin and her team from Spring Rock Farm, the 2013 Conference was a huge success.
The 2-day conference was the largest convening the American Wagyu Association has ever held. Speakers covered topics ranging from Genetic Improvement to Marketing Strategies – for example, attendees learned that experiences facing the wine industry are not dissimilar to the challenges facing the Wagyu industry.
Mark Shatzker, the keynote speaker and acclaimed author, entertained us with an account of his personal quest to find the best “steak” in the world.
The take-home messages resonated with many of attending breeders who embrace the breed and strive to improve each day as they raise and market the best beef money can buy.
The speakers reinforced the notion that the Wagyu breed has much to offer with great opportunities from the high-end restaurant sector to higher quality meat produced through cross breeding.
Topping off the event was the Gala Banquet – well worth the wait – guided by Jeff Black and his Celebrity Chef Team: Aaron Butts, Shawn Calley, Ian Knauer, Jason Tostrop and Stowe’s own Josh Berry. They entertained the guests with gusto: fine Wagyu courses and delicious accompaniments.
The night was one to remember with a memorable benefit auction raising over $70,000 for the American Wagyu Association. Many thanks go to the vibrant auctioneer, Butch Booker, and to those in the audience for their generosity in donating the enticing lots and to those who became the fortunate winning bidders.
In summary, the 2013 Conference was a stunning event with the bar rising higher and higher each year. Based on the response from the enthusiastic attendees, the James Beard Celebrity Chef event will become a permanent Gala Dinner fixture at the AWA’s annual Conference.
The event provides an excellent opportunity for wonderful young chefs to showcase their culinary talents and through their personal experience continue to use Wagyu beyond the Celebrity Chef Tour, as they become advocates for Wagyu as the unquestionable “King of Beef”.
Stay tuned for more updates and news at www.wagyu.org