Retail Press Release
California Avocado Commission Partners with Renowned Chefs
- Marji Morrow, Rockwell Morrow
- (323) 456-6751
Sep 22 2011
Chef Hugh Acheson will Demonstrate new California Avocado Usage Ideas at PMA
IRVINE, Calif. (September 22, 2011) – Popular cooking shows, magazines, websites and social media outlets have elevated the popularity of chefs in America, and the California Avocado Commission (CAC) is taking full advantage of that fact. This year the Commission has partnered with numerous chefs and culinary programs to expand consumer knowledge of the wide variety of uses for avocados. CAC’s partner chefs also disseminate marketing messages from the Hand Grown in California avocado grower marketing campaign.
At the upcoming PMA Fresh Summit, October 14-17 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, attendees will have the opportunity to meet one of CAC’s chef partners. Acclaimed Hugh Acheson, chef/partner of Five & Ten, the National, Gosford Wine located in Athens, GA and Empire State South in Atlanta, who recently participated on Top Chef Masters and was a guest judge on Top Chef Just Desserts, will share some masterful California avocado dishes with a southern flair in CAC’s booth #3217 on Saturday and Sunday. Acheson’s new book, A New Turn in the South, Southern Flavors Reinvented for the Kitchen, will be released this fall.
Atlanta Chef Hugh Acheson, a Top Chef Masters alum, will demonstrate California Avocado dishes
with a southern flair at PMA Fresh Summit.
“PMA Fresh Summit provides a great opportunity for CAC to share category performance, trends and program information with retailers,” said Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president of marketing. “This year, we will unveil insights from a new consumer segmentation study and share data to help retailers maximize spring-summer avocado sales. It’s a real added benefit to have chef Acheson in our booth to share his fresh approach to Southern food as well as his love of cooking with seasonal fruits and vegetables in creative California avocado recipes.”
Three years ago, CAC expanded its Artisan Chef Program, partnering with many chefs who utilize locally grown products, represent the artisan cooking style and love working with California avocados. This year, CAC kicked off California avocado season with the help of one of New York’s leading chefs: Ivy Stark, executive chef of Dos Caminos restaurant, who served as CAC’s spokesperson for Cinco de Mayo. Stark promoted her new California avocado-centric recipes, at media appearances and through social media leading up to and on Cinco de Mayo.
In mid-May, CAC hosted a grove media tour in San Diego County, also known as California Avocado Country, showing media guests the distinctive qualities of California avocados, providing a first-hand look at how the fruit is hand grown and packed, and demonstrating a wide variety of avocado usage ideas. Executive chef Paul McCabe of Kitchen 1520 at L’Auberge Del Mar prepared an opening meal that included an avocado sundae liquid nitrogen station for dessert. The next day, the media toured a packing house and then joined an interactive cooking demonstration in a California avocado grove with chef Trey Foshee of George’s at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, Calif. An avocado grove tour followed. Participants enjoyed dinner at Pacifica Del Mar, where executive chef Evan Cruz creatively incorporated California avocados into all of the dishes, including charring an avocado and serving it with chimichurri and short ribs. Event images can be viewed on the CAC Flickr page.
California Avocado Commission vice president of marketing, Jan DeLyser,
discusses avocados with Twin Tables bloggers.
California chefs Mike Fagnoni and Molly Hawks of Hawk’s restaurant in Granite Bay, Calif. were featured in press outreach with their delicious Shrimp and California Avocado Open-Faced Sandwich, along with an Avocado Cheesecake with Tomato-Vanilla Jam created by chef Foshee. CAC also worked with the partner chefs to create a set of recipe demonstration videos, with each chef providing step-by-step instructions on how to make their recipes. The videos were shared with media and posted online. CAC continued its relationship with well-known chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, both of whom have competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, by having them develop two avocado-centric recipes that were distributed to media during peak avocado season. Their bold cooking style and love of avocados was showcased in their recipes for California Avocado Guacamole Tarts and Cumin Glazed Ribs with California Avocado Pineapple Salsa.
“Working with many of the leading chefs in the country enhances our ability to reach our target consumer with messaging and innovative usage ideas,” said DeLyser. “These chefs provide credible, third-party endorsements that encourage avocado demand.”
Sliced California Avocado and padron pepper with black lava salt prepared by Seattle chef Erik Tanaka.
To focus media and consumer attention during the height of the California avocado growing season, CAC declared the week of June 12 as “Avocado Week.” Talented chefs promoted the reliability, flavor and versatility of California avocados through special avocado-themed menus, featured dishes in their restaurants, during media appearances and through social media. For example, chef Lisa Schroeder of Portland’s Mother’s Bistro & Bar served a five-plate tour de California avocado menu. In Dallas, chef Kent Rathbun of Jasper’s and Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen incorporated a California avocado dish in a “Good Morning Texas” segment and educated viewers about the seasonality of California avocados. San Antonio-based chef partner Bruce Auden celebrated with a variety of California avocado dishes including a produce-rich salad of sliced zucchini, diced red and gold beets with a goat cheese California avocado parfait. Chef Carol Wallack of Chicago’s Sola restaurant incorporated a special California avocado-theme into the restaurant’s monthly prix fixe menu. All of CAC’s Artisan Chefs promoted their activities through their restaurants’ social media channels during “Avocado Week”.
CAC extended the reach of its program by hosting consumer culinary media dinners in regional markets, providing the media with the opportunity to directly learn more about California avocados. At each dinner, media enjoyed a multi-course avocado menu created by CAC partner chefs.
The Commission also targeted influencers in the culinary world by participating in SAVEUR magazine’s Summer BBQ event. Executive chef, restaurateur and Food Network television personality Chris Santos created a crowd-pleasing dish of Chipotle BBQ Glazed Shrimp with Tomatillo, Roasted Corn, and California Avocado Salsa. CAC featured chef Santos’ recipe within the Summer BBQ cookbook. The event and coverage garnered more than four million impressions.
Additionally CAC partnered with America’s Test Kitchen (ATK), which has more than two million viewers per television episode, promoting a wide variety of California avocado usage. The program included on-air and online sponsorship segments, features and banners on the ATK website, dozens of ATK avocado recipes provided for CaliforniaAvocado.com, and co-branded recipes distributed exclusively to CAC’s Facebook® fans. A live one-hour Twitter® party added another engaging social media component in the CAC-ATK promotion.
In the foodservice arena CAC’s publicity program showcases innovative fresh California avocado menu applications from chefs and operators from fast casual, mid-scale dining and onsite segments. Chef Jen Biesty, Top Chef alum and executive chef of Scala's Bistro in San Francisco, appeared as CAC's representative at the 2011 PMA Foodservice Conference sampling her recipe for California Avocado Cemitas. CAC’s 2010-11 foodservice advertising also featured chef Biesty.
About the California Avocado Commission
Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state’s nearly 5,000 avocado growers. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. For information about California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and follow the California Avocado Commission on Twitter at Twitter.com/CA_Avocados.