AWA Hong Kong Chef Workshops 2014!
September 18, 2014
The Australian Wild Abalone™ Chefs Workshops!
The Art of Australian Wild Abalone™ – TownGas Cooking Centre, Hong Kong
On the 10th July 2014, 52 top Hong Kong Chefs, Food and Beverage Purchasing Managers and Hong Kong media poured into the TownGas Cooking School in Causeway Bay to go on a culinary journey with Australian Wild Abalone™! This was the very first of a new series of workshops, exploring the many product forms and preparation techniques that can be used to create amazing dishes with our exquisite product. This particular workshop focused on frozen and canned Australian Wild Abalone™ products.
The classes began with the Australian Wild Abalone™ ‘story’, told by Dean Lisson of the Abalone Council Australia Ltd, and one of the Australian Wild Abalone™ divers and exporters, Tobin Woolford. Together they presented the attributes that make the product and industry so special and our unique selling point – diving and harvesting by hand! Jayne Gallagher, from the Australian Seafood CRC, explained the work that is done to maintain safety, freshness and quality of AWA™ products and the many product forms, she highlighted the research that has been done into the nutritional benefits of Australian Wild Abalone™, and the versatility and unique flavour of Australian Wild Abalone™.
Seafood Expo Asia, 2-4 September 2014 – AWA™ Master-class
This was followed by a Master-class presented as part of Seafood Expo Asia, drawing another 60 HK Chefs and Food & Beverage Purchasers, Managers and Media as guests who were treated to dishes made using vacuum packed and retort pouched products. The Chef even had the audience participating by making their own Australian Wild Abalone™ snowy mooncakes to inspire their Mid-Autumn Festival Menu’s!
The Australian Wild Abalone ™ program was very visible at Seafood Expo Asia. In collaboration with Tasmanian Seafoods, Ralph’s Tasmanian Seafood, Dragon King Abalone and Blue Sky Fisheries we were able to conduct additional research on the needs of key F&B buyers from throughout Asia.
We were impressed with the quality of the enquiries and even more impressed to hear that one of the chefs who had attended our November launch and the July chef workshop was now insisting that his supplier provide him with genuine Australian Wild Abalone ™ product and that supplier (who also supplies to other 4 and 5 star hotels) came to the stand specifically to discuss a deal!
Master Chef Dr. Chan Tak Po
Dr Chan Tak Po is the CEO of Proasia Catering Corp. Ltd and a certificate holder of the Abalone National Committee of Experts issued by the China Hotel Industry Association.
At our Hong Kong Workshop Chef Chan Tak Po demonstrated recipes that showcase the product attributes by using different preparation techniques and exploring the traditional and the modern! It is fantastic to have such well renowned and respected Master Chef’s becoming ambassadors for Australian Wild Abalone™ and helping us showcase our products!
Here are some examples of the dishes that Master Chef Dr. Chan Tak Po prepared in front of the guests during the technical Workshop, while he prepared the dishes he talked about the nutritional and health benefits of each dish and then tasting plates were passed around the room!
Tools for our Chefs
Each of the guests were given a product information card detailing handling and defrosting information. The AWA™ exporters have had problems reported to them around incorrect thawing in the past and we hope this information, along with these workshops and master classes will not only inspire the chefs but also assist them in producing the best dishes with the best Australian Wild Abalone™ products!
We will continue this series of technical workshops for chefs in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the next 12 months, looking at different product forms and showcasing different preparation techniques, from the traditional to the modern.
Tickling the taste buds of the Hong Kong media
We received a fantastic response from the Hong Food and Beverage Media, with a whopping advertising value of HKD$500,000, AUD $70,000 in Food and Beverage print media and the Hong Kong Daily newsprints, this is not including the online coverage from food blogs and social media. Please contact us for a full media report and watch this space for the coverage received from the Seafood Expo Asia!
“Research has shown that Australian Wild Abalone has a good amount of Omega 3 and is an excellent source of Vitamin E, iodine and magnesium – all essential for good health. The AWA Certification Mark and international recognition from WWF Hong Kong and Singapore gives consumers’ confidence that the products they buy are sustainable and genuine.” Roadshow
All of the Australian Wild Abalone ™ supply chain education activities are aimed at supporting and strengthening the relationship between our exporters and our importers as well as learning more about the market conditions. While we were in Hong Kong in July we met with eight of our importers to discuss conditions in the market, how the changes are impacting on their businesses and what we could do together to improve the situation. While the Australian Wild Abalone product has a good reputation in the market we are being increasingly challenged. The key messages were:
1)Competition in the canned market is very strong. South Africa, Chile and New Zealand have a very competitive offering both on price and convenience. South Africa and Chile have marketing campaigns targeting consumers. We were told that Australia needs to do the same thing – explain to the consumer why they should ask for Australian Wild Abalone
2) Australian Wild Abalone does have a good reputation and frozen Greenlip product in particular is still very popular in Hong Kong — still commanding high prices
3)Australian Wild Abalone ™ products should be presented in more convenient forms and in attractive packaging. Natural, healthy and attractive food products command higher prices and are given premium positioning in restaurants and retail stores.
4) With depressed demand from mainland Chinese visiting Hong Kong and increased competition from other, mainly farmed, products Australian Wild Abalone ™ program needs to be very visible in the market supporting individual company brands and their importers. The importers are ready and willing to work with us!
“It needs both a push and a pull approach. We need consumers going to restaurants and supermarkets and specifically asking for the product as well as showing chefs how to prepare it.” Hong Kong based Abalone importer.
“If you are not going to compete on price, your competitors are significantly lower on price, then you need to look and act like a premium food product so that people will want to pay more for yours over a cheaper competitor. Australian industry needs to change. It needs to listen to what we are telling you about how the market is changing” Hong Kong based Abalone importer
Australian Wild Abalone™ Roadshow coming to a town near you soon!
As you will be aware the Australian Seafood CRC will cease funding this program after June 2015. Jayne Gallagher, Dean Lisson and Ewan Colquhoun will be visiting each Australian Wild Abalone™ region to present a business plan to fund this program into the future. In order to continue our Australian Wild Abalone™ program we need to fund it ourselves so this roadshow will be an opportunity to discuss future funding options and opportunities and to feed ideas into plans for the industry for the future.
Dates for the Roadshow will be circulated very soon, but please contact usif you have any questions at this stage.
Join the Australian Wild Abalone™ Program!
It’s a been a waiting game….and we are still in the process of applying for the Australian Wild Abalone™ Trademark with the ACCC, which we are expecting to be approved around October this year. We have been holding off accepting new members while the ACCC considered our application. However, we have had lots of enquiries about how companies can get involved and have decided that while we are continuing to operate this program on an informal basis we can open it up to all exporters who meet the draft rules and are willing to comply with them. So if you are interested please contact [email protected] for a copy of our rules document and an application form to join the AWA™ program.