A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's All About the Beef

After running the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9, I stayed in Chicago for the National Beef Cook-Off and Food Media Seminar on September 11-12. In fact, I felt like I never stopped running (until I got back to Denver and went for a bike ride on Saturday!). It was a great week for beef. Food editors and cook-off contestants from across the country gathered in one giant celebration of beef hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, host of "Guy's Big Bite" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on TV's Food Network.

Meeting Guy, with his bleached blond hair, goatee, skateboarder shorts and signature sunglasses perpetually perched on the back of his head, I was impressed with how "down-to-earth" he is. Perhaps its because his mom was a "California Cowbelle" (now known as the California Cattlewomen)...and he is a beef lover.

[Above: Guy chatting with Mary Bartz, director of food communications for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; Below: hamming it up with Shenoa French of the Beef Demonstration Center].

In fact, beef was one of the first meals Guy ever cooked for his family. As he told the story at the National Beef Cook-Off Gala Awards banquet, one day, after complaining about the meal his mom had prepared (apparently he's not a big fan of eggplant parmesan), she told him that if he didn't like it he could fix his own dinner. So the next night he picked up two thick, juicy ribeyes on the way home from school and pan fried them with a combination of spices he found in the cupboard...and the rest is history!

The National Beef Cook-Off was a great way to showcase the versatility and convenience of beef as contestants competed in four new categories: New Dynamic Beef Dishes, Nuevo Latino, Kids in the Kitchen and "Small Plates, Big Tastes" Grilled for Everyday Entertaining. [At left: several of the beef dishes on display at the Cook-Off].

The theme of the entire week can best be summed up as follows: Beef is a great-tasting, versatile, and convenient way to add lean, nutrient-rich protein to a healthy diet.

This year's winner, Christine Riccitelli, took home the $50,000 "Best of Beef" grand prize for her "Nuevo Chipotle Beef Butternut Squash Boats" [At left: Christine celebrates with one of her two sons, who flew to Chicago for the awards banquet]. Christine is a big believer in the benefits of beef, often reminding her "hiking" girlfriends they would have to eat more than six chicken breasts to get the Vitamin B12 and Zinc in a serving of beef and almost three breasts to get the same amount of Iron. Ounce for ounce, chicken just doesn't stack up!

Bottom-line: Beef is the king of proteins. Beef is rich in nutrients, tastes great, and is quick and easy to prepare. Beef. Pick some up on your next trip to the grocery store. Your family will thank you. Beef. It's what's for dinner!



  1. I found the brochure with all the winning recipes. We'll have to try some of them soon!

  2. Daren, great picture! We did have a blast that night. Thanks for spending it with us. and for all you help at the cook-off.
    Chris Riccitelli


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