"I love showing people that hosting a unique evening with unbelievably good food can be simple - especially when it centers on pork," said Chef Stephanie Izard, winner of season four of the television show, Top Chef.
Izard hosted the Party with Pork event in Chicago.
Izard is co-owner of two Chicago restaurants, including The Little Goat, where the Pork Checkoff offered 20 influential bloggers an unforgettable Chicago experience this summer.
"These bloggers cover food, parenting, lifestyle and other genres and were in town for the BlogHer 2013 conference," said Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the Pork Checkoff. "We took the opportunity to help them master the art of easy entertaining with pork and invited them to pass that along to their followers."
Menu showcases pork's versatility
After snacking on Ham Popcorn while riding a Chicago trolley, the bloggers were treated to a pork-centric menu featuring pork belly tostadas to smoked pork and bacon milkshakes at The Little Goat.
"Pork is versatile, easy to prepare and pairs perfectly with any flavor," said Izard, who prepared and demonstrated her tangy Pork Tenderloin Spring Rolls.
The dinner was impressive, said Terry Wolters, a Minnesota pork producer who enjoyed visiting with the bloggers.
"I was amazed at how large and diverse the blogging world is, and how these influential bloggers can magnify pork's messages," Wolters said.
Wolters, who handles grow-finish management and marketing for Pipestone Systems, answered the bloggers' questions about modern pork production and shared the proper way to prepare pork.
"People look to these bloggers for information and new ideas," Wolters said. "I stressed pork's versatility and correct cooking temperatures. I also explained specific pork cuts the bloggers could use for recipes."
Throughout the evening, bloggers tweeted, posted on Facebook and Instagrammed using the hashtag #PartyWithPork and engaged with the Pork Be inspired® social media channels. Blogger Jenny Flake of the Picky Palate loved partying with pork.
"This was hands down one of the best blogger events I've been to," Flake said.
Helping consumers discover the best-tasting secret to entertaining
To encourage the bloggers to host their own online parties with pork, Pork Checkoff sent the attendees home with a customized party kit filled with pork coupons, party favors and prizes for their readers.
"Our recent survey shows that one-third of Americans plan to host a backyard BBQ, tailgate party or other gathering in the next few months - and two out of three hosts want to feature food that's both a crowd pleaser and easy to prepare," Johnson said.
The Pork Checkoff is giving consumers more reasons to pick pork for easy entertaining with three new recipes, including:
Double Pork Party Sliders - Pork loin chops, bacon, steak sauce and soft hamburger buns make these tiny but hearty sandwiches impossible to resist.
Cuban Pork Adobo Salad - Mixed greens are topped with cubed New York pork chops, juicy pineapple and a zesty dressing.
Make-It-Mine Pork Kabobs - Tangy pork loin skewers are filled with grilled bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms.
"These recipes prove that pork doesn't require hours of prep work in the kitchen," Johnson said. "We'll continue to look for new opportunities to inspire people to make pork part of the party."
For more information, contact Pam Johnson at PJohnson@pork.org or at (515) 223-3528.
Source: National Pork Board