Mathieu Paré knew he had a big chef hat to fill when he assumed the role of director of the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence from Marty Carpenter, who officially retired on March 1.
Since opening its doors in March 2015, the centre has welcomed people from 168 domestic companies, 116 small- and medium-sized businesses, 42 international missions and 36 domestic missions. Activities are designed to meet the needs and interests of each group with the focus on carcass utilization to drive value back to the carcass and Canadian beef in general.
The CBCE’s team at Calgary works with market development staff in Canada and other countries to host food-service and retail clients who buy or are interested in buying Canadian beef. They look for cuts that are underutilized in clients’ markets and specialty products that would help build the Canadian beef brand to be a bigger part of their business. In food service, they are looking for cuts that are profitable and cutting-edge.
To date, people from Latin America, Mexico, Japan, China, Taiwan, southeastern Asia, Korea, the Middle East and Russia have visited the centre to learn more about the Canadian beef advantage.
- Read more: Making the most of a beef carcass
The visits start with a tour of a ranch because there is nothing more authentic than seeing where the cattle are raised. Next, it’s on to a feedlot to hear about the science behind why they do what they do, and to a plant to learn about food safety protocols.
The diversity of the centre’s clients and Canadian beef is a combination Paré appreciates as well. This Calgary native is no stranger to adventures in culinary pursuits himself. He was known to forage the province far and wide for edible plants and animals before his inquisitive nature took him across Canada, into Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to explore local cuisine and exotic ingredients.
“Pairing landscape with food service, or sharing taste-of-place is my focus. Heightening guest enjoyment through creative menu and event theming is my way to achieve this,” Paré says. Fine dining on rib-eye roast served aboard the Royal Canadian Pacific while rolling through southwestern Alberta’s rolling hills and ranching country comes to top of mind. Charcoal grilled tenderloins of Alberta beef paired with Dungeness crab boil on the beach for wedding dinners in Tofino, B.C. is the ultimate surf and turf, showcasing one of his favourites, outdoor cooking.
He thinks of his new position as bringing his career full circle in a way with the opportunity to work with and learn from the expertise of the centre’s technical manager Abe Van Melle. The two worked together to deliver a culinary education program for meat department operators at Calgary Co-op stores when Paré was studying culinary arts at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Van Melle was the lead instructor for the butchery program there.
Paré achieved his Red Seal chef certificate topped off with a Governor General’s Bronze Medal for achieving the highest standing of all programs in post-secondary institutions upon graduating in 2010. He is also a graduate of Tourism Management from Capilano University in North Vancouver.
Between then and now, Paré fine-tuned his culinary skills to a professional degree, training in some of Western Canada’s greatest fine-dining kitchens including La Chaumiere, Rouge, Quail’s Gate Estate Winery, the Royal Canadian Pacific and the Wickaninnish Inn.
The result is a style he describes as “classic technique and execution while maintaining some freedom for surprise, fusion and one-of-a-kind creativity.”
Paré accepted the director position in January and spent the first couple of months training with Carpenter, who then closed out his time with the centre as guest chef at the Canadian Beef Branding Series during the Gulfood Show at Dubai, UEA.
The CBCE is part of Canada Beef, which carries out market development activities with funding leveraged by Canadian producers’ national checkoff dollars. It was designed and built from scratch with the vision of serving as a training, communication, product research and development, and business development hub to showcase the Canadian beef brand and ultimately drive demand at home and abroad.
The facility includes a 30-seat boardroom for meetings and formal presentations that can open up into a full demonstration theatre. There is a full commercial kitchen, a consumer kitchen and a hazard analysis and critical control point- (HACCP) oriented beef fabrication area where new cutting techniques are researched and demonstrated. All spaces are linked with high-definition cameras, microphones and screens for full broadcasting capability. Bookings for all or part of the facility are welcome via the initial inquiry form on the website or by calling the centre.
Carpenter, who was the founding director of the centre, believes it is as unique as the Canadian beef brand itself — a true crowning achievement that all sectors of the value chain can be very proud of because it was built to serve the entire industry.
Visit the Canada Beef website for more information.