Taste of Elegance Kicks Off 2015 Pork Congress

The 2015 Minnesota Pork Congress kicked off Tuesday night with the Taste of Elegance. The event is a highlight of the Pork Congress, with over 800 people this year, and showcases a number of chefs competing to serve the best pork dish of the night.

Some of these chefs and restaurants represented at the dinner also actively promote the pork industry and pork on their menu. One chef who stole the limelight at this year’s event was Executive Chef Tim McCarty of the Mayo Foundation House, who is also a past award winner of Taste of Elegance.

IMG_4680McCarty spends many hours assisting at events to support the pork industry, including Chinese and Japanese trade delegations where he shows participants how to properly cook a number of pork cuts. McCarty served Sous Vide Petit Boneless Shoulder Roast with Belly and Butt Confit. McCarty finished second this year to Chef Mark Born of Blue Collar Barbeque.

Pork Congress attendees are participating in seminar sessions and networking on the trade show floor today and tomorrow before the show wraps up Thursday afternoon.

This year, feeding health challenges in pigs will be a session topic sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the soybean checkoff. Dr. Laura Greiner, Director of Research at Carthage Innovative Swine Solutions, will discuss research that shows feeding soybean meal can have significant advantages when feeding pigs that are experiencing disease issues.

In Minnesota, the pork industry is very important to soybean farmers, with hogs the top consumer of soybeans, consuming 1.25 million tons of soybean meal each year.

“It is important for pig farmers to understand the fundamentals of why soybean meal is still one of the best options for feeding pigs,” Sam Zeigler, Minnesota Soybean Director of Marketing Programs, said. “While there are a lot of options to develop formulations for feed that cost less, those options don’t always produce results.”

Pork Congress attendees can stop by the MSR&PC booth this year to learn more information on why soybean meal is the gold standard for swine feed.

In an effort to continue working jointly with the state’s pork farmers, the MSR&PC works closely every year with Minnesota’s pig farmers. The Minnesota Pork Congress offers another avenue for the MSR&PC to learn what is happening in the industry and stay up-to-date on the soybean customers’ needs in nutrition so soybean farmers can ensure they are growing a crop that fits those needs.

Minnesota’s soybean farmers also work closely with pig farmers on many common issues such as transportation, regulation and exports.