RVB received top honors at the first annual Colorado Farm to Fork Culinary Competition inside the State Capitol on March 8th as part of Colorado Ag Day.
Eleven teams made up of one state legislator, one ag producer, and one American Culinary Federation certified chef competed against each other preparing a dish featuring a locally grown and raised food product. Competing commodities included beef (of course!), lamb, salad greens, eggs, potatoes, chicken, buffalo, pork, trout, and various dairy items. The dishes were judged and served to legislators, legislative staff, volunteers, media, and other guests.
RVB was asked to represent the state’s beef industry by entering a dish. We were paired up with Executive Chef Jorge de la Torre (Dean at Johnson & Wales University) and Colorado Rep. Su Ryden (Aurora). Building upon Rep. Ryden’s request for including some type of spicy pesto, Chef Jorge created what he called Double R Steak Strips on Pesto Mash.
While we weren’t able to taste all of the dishes, the ones we did have were great. It was fun to see the creativity of each of the ACF chef’s ideas. As the judges began to announce the winners, our hearts started to race…and after mentioning the third and then second place entries, we started to get disappointed – never thinking that we’d actually finish that far. Much to our surprise, they announced “beef” as the first place entry and the crowd cheered – what fun!!
Following a press conference and short speeches from various state officials, Colorado’s ag commodity groups presented an in-kind and financial donation of more than $95,000 to Food Bank of the Rockies – providing nearly a half million meals to those in need.
Part of National Ag Week, Colorado Ag Day was held to help educate the general public and underscore the cultural and economic importance of agriculture to not only the state and nation, but also the entire world. During the press conference, John Salazar, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, commented that local farmers and ranchers provide affordable, safe, and abundant food and fiber while also protecting the state’s open spaces.
Commissioner Salazar also added, ”Colorado’s diverse agriculture and food industry is a large part of our great state’s economy generating approximately $40 billion annually.” The statement was proof of Governor Hickenlooper’s comment during his 2012 State of the State address where he proclaimed that agriculture is the one industry leading Colorado out of the economic downturn. And with only less than 2% of the population actively involved in agriculture, that’s a powerful statement!