According to Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork, 60 per cent of province-raised pork is exported, mostly to the United States, but also to emerging markets in Japan, China and Russia.
In fact, Fitzgerald said that Japanese consumers claim they can taste notes of a barley-heavy diet common for Alberta pigs.
While the exports are great for local producers, Alberta Pork wants to reintroduce pork as a fine-dining option to consumers in Alberta and B.C.
“We need to do a better job in the domestic market,” he said.
To do so, the Passion for Pork campaign — which is aimed at Vancouver, Whistler and Edmonton (but, curiously, the pilot project doesn't extend to Calgary) — sees top chefs from all three centres share pork recipes and promote pig goodness throughout the summer.
The chefs dined on The Marc’s pork dish, a tenderloin crusted with brown sugar and served with a tangy gastrique.
For an ad campaign soon to air on TV stations in Edmonton and Vancouver, chefs will feature some of their pork dishes. That list includes Culina Muttart chef Heather Dosman, who shares how to make bulgogi braised pork.
Expect to see this passion lasting well into the fall, and especially in September, when local fine-dining establishments honour the campaign with special menu items.