America's pork producers entered the 13th year of their Celebrated Chefs program by naming five distinguished chefs as spokespersons for the Pork Checkoff and The Other White Meat. More than 50 leading chefs are members of the expanding Celebrated Chef Alumnae group.
"The Celebrated Chefs program, developed in 1996, is designed to keep pork at the forefront of the latest menu trends," says Karen Buchholz, Director of Foodservice Marketing for the Pork Checkoff. "This program connects some of the best chefs in the nation to pork, a top protein they are all passionate about."
The chefs were selected for their culinary excellence, creativity and originality in their menuing of pork. The 2009 Celebrated Chefs are comprised of both independent and chain operators.
The 2009 Celebrated Chefs are:
Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, Ala.) -A ten-time world barbecue champion and winner of the pork category at Memphis in May six times, Lilly has been asked to serve as an honorary chef at the James Beard Foundation.
John Sundstrom of Lark (Seattle, Wash.) -Named one of Food & Wines Best New Chef's in 2001, Sundstrom also was the James Beard award winner for Best Chef Northwest 2007.
Kevin Storm of Bellerive County Club (St. Louis, Mo.) - Named Chef of the Year in 2004 by St. Louis Chef's de Cuisine, Storm coached the ACF United States youth team in the Culinary Olympics in 2008.
Michael Paley of Proof on Main (Louisville, Ky.) - An official Kentucky delegate for the Terra Madre Slow Food International meeting in Turin, Italy, Paley also was selected as the featured chef during the 2009 inaugural Kentucky Bluegrass Ball in Washington, D.C.
Tyler Wiard of Elway's Cherry Creek (Denver, Colo.) - As a National Taste of Elegance winner, Wiard twice scored Top Denver Chef honors from 5280 magazine.
The Celebrated Chefs program highlights pork's variety among chefs, foodservice operators and distributors. Through industry speaking engagements, participation in operator workshops, cooking demonstrations and innovative menu development, Celebrated Chefs maintain a focus on pork as a customer-pleasing and profitable center-of-the-plate protein.
The Celebrated Chefs will be featured in a Checkoff-funded media tour in the spring. Through highly visible efforts of the Celebrated Chefs program, the pork industry continues to heighten awareness of the benefits of pork and to build a preference for pork among American consumers.