Blending culinary arts and food science with the latest pork research is the recipe for a partnership forged between the National Pork Board and the Research Chefs Association. RCA is the leading U.S. professional community for food research and development whose members work toward bringing excellence to food product development. 

An important objective shared by the food research group and NPB’s pork checkoff is to carve out increased market share by developing new pork food items. “We need to be interfacing with these people who are influencing the future of food,” says Paul Perfilio, national foodservice marketing manager for NPB. “(RCA members) are the professionals who not only develop great ideas for new pork food items, but commercialize them.”

NPB was a Gold Sponsor at the annual RCA conference and exhibition, held recently in Atlanta. The event offered a key opportunity for NPB staff to share ideas with leading chefs and food development professionals. NPB also co-sponsored the RCA regional members’ breakfast, featuring pure pork maple sausage patties and thick-sliced, apple-wood smoked bacon over 400 RCA chef members.

The collaboration with NPB provides valuable input for Research Chefs Association members and helps spur new ideas that lead to flavorful, nutritious, new food products. RCA has more than 2,100 members.

“The new ‘Pork. Be inspired’ campaign gave us the opportunity to highlight and explain NPB programs, such as the ‘We Care’ program and foodservice marketing platforms for 2011,” adds Perfilio.

To keep the momentum going, pork education workshops have been scheduled for RCA regional events later this year in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston. “We always try to bring the latest information from our part of the protein world,” says Perfilio. Workshops planned range from Pork 101 to presentations on specific pork products like bacon and prosciutto.

“The timely information and industry contacts that the National Pork Board provides RCA members are invaluable,” says Jim Fowler, executive director of the Research Chefs Association (RCA). “It’s rewarding to partner with professionals who are so easy to work with and are passionate about furthering the progress of food product development.”