Humans of Agriculture

Sam Burke has invited Oli and all listeners to his place for a BBQ and we're holding him to it!

Sam's career spans over 30 years in the culinary world. From his early days as a milkboy to becoming a corporate chef, Sam has gained valuable lessons from every part of his career progression. He is now the Corporate Chef and Foodservice Business Development Manager for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

Sam's enthusiasm for his work and red meat is evident, and he talks about the pride he feels representing Australian producers on the global stage. And he doesn't have to wait until his 100th birthday for a letter from the Queen… Queen Elizabeth II has already sent him one for his cooking!!

"A producer loves to hear what happens to their product when it leaves farm gate... And then on the other side, the chef loves to hear what happens when that animal is produced… So we’re [MLA}] like the link between which conveys the positives messages… And I love that role.” - Sam

Episode sponsor - Meat and Livestock Australia. 

What is Humans of Agriculture?

We're going behind the scenes to see and understand modern agriculture, because no matter whether you're in it or not, you probably don't know all the pieces to just how incredible, diverse and multi-layered agriculture is. We do this by uncovering the real stories, experiences and voices of modern agriculture.

Oli Le Lievre 0:01
Good day and welcome back to the humans of agriculture podcast. I'm your host Oliver leave thank you for tuning in and listening to us. I'm sitting down on our own country down here in Geelong. It's nice to be home for a little bit. When I started humans of agriculture, it was all about trying to show the breadth and diversity as to the careers that agriculture can actually lead you down. And so I'm really excited to have my next guest on who's the corporate chef and food service business development manager for Meat and Livestock Australia. Sandberg is a fascinating dude is seriously cool. Well, I'm really excited to bring this one to you. I think first up, we probably need to address the man has 15 barbecues in his backyard. He definitely doesn't spend much time at home. And he's only really had a couple of employers across his whole career. He's been a chef for more than 30 odd years, has worked his way up from an apprentice to leading teams that aren't just here in Australia, but are actually global foodservice businesses. About 10 years ago, he stumbled across a roll of Meat and Livestock Australia. And since then, if you've been to any industry events, you would have probably seen Sam in the corner cooking away. But his role is really about championing red meat and showing people not just here in Australia, in terms of businesses, but also businesses and companies around the world, how to use Australian red meat in fun, interesting, unique ways, which really champion the hard work that producers put into raising and growing some of the best and most sustainable red meat in the world. So I don't know if an intro I can do Sam justice, I just think I'd found his story. Awesome. Interesting and just genuinely fascinating. And I think these are the types of people that are humans of agriculture, they aren't all just working inside the farm gate. There's people and opportunities right across the whole value chain when it comes to food. So let's just jump straight into it. Well, Sam, yeah, the first time that I'd seen you and come across you were MLA updates in got, I reckon it must have been 2017 or 18. And Dan, in Canberra, you obviously you had your speaking gig, but then you're also providing lunch for everyone as well. And I just think like, you have such an energy about you, and you'd see some fascinating people. So I'm excited today to sit down and unpack a bit of your story. So welcome to the humans of agriculture podcast. Hey,

Speaker 2 2:17
Ali, I'm thrilled to be part of it. You know, when the comms team rang me up and told me that you were wanting to have a chat. You know, I've listened to a few podcasts in the past driving home from work in stuck in Sydney traffic. So it's good to be on and talk about what I'm passionate about, and learn a bit about more about what you guys do as well. So yeah, thank you for the opportunity.

Oli Le Lievre 2:36
So let's chat about that. The passion today you're working from Meat and Livestock Australia, your role is the corporate chef and foodservice Business Development Manager, look, what does a week in your life actually look like?

Speaker 2 2:47
I'll tell you what my it's always different. So I'm sitting in a hotel room in Brisbane talking to get the moment, but what I love about the role is just the diversity, you know, one day could be working on a cruise ship, out at sea with chest right at right at right under the ocean, you know, in the, in the galleys, you know, helping them, you know, taking the turf to the surf, if you'd like next minute, we could be working on a revolution or burger for big QSR chain that featured beef, or pizza or something like that, you know, that special features beef, lamb or goat, you know, and then the next thing would be giving dignity to elderly Australians in aged care. You know, we're Australian red meats, very important part of their diet of iron, zinc and protein, really looking at opportunities where we reverse engineer solutions to make sure that food service are confident with the product, they're using the right method, estimating the cost of goods, and we're pushing string ribeye down menu, you know, so it's really understanding your customer going away thinking about it, and then working with them in collaboration to come up with solutions that feature red meat on menu. And if they get it right, there's a good chance it's gonna keep on going on menu. Right? So yeah, that's what the job is about foremost. And then the other part of the role is kind of like the ambassador for the Australian red meat industry on a culinary sense. So, you know, I've got some fun parts of the job where I'm here at the ACA this week in Brisbane, and we're doing, I guess, cookery demonstrations with consumers making sure that they have success of the product as well. So that's fun. And then we do those big, big industry events and red meat updates, and all that kind of stuff where we get to speak to producers and learn from them and take that message back to the consumer as well.

Oli Le Lievre 4:31
I got your cover a bit of country, but you also cover a few parts of the supply chain. Yeah.

Speaker 2 4:36
And that's sort of the belt might you got it, you know, because the producer loves to hear what happens to their product when it leaves farm gate. And then on the other side, the chef loves to hear what happens when that animals produced right so there's work on a lot like the link between that conveys the positive messages and I love the raw. I really do love the raw coming up to our 10th year now. And when I was a young kid at school, I used to work in IT Portree. So it's kind of like their dream job, you know, and I've been quite a loyal employee, I had one employer before this, you know, I had heaps of jobs when I was young at school and that but when I left school, I did my apprenticeship with a big commercial catering company for 20 years, their rise to the top, they're running 185 sites across the country, big commercial caterer, and then clocked out and got the gold watch off the end. And they're back my company car and why my shirt, my shirt, join the MLA and second employer. So you know, I'm quite a loyal employee, if you like and stick it something and I grind it out. And you know, I'm very fortunate my role, and I don't take it for granted, not one bit.

Oli Le Lievre 5:43
Well, you're very different to me, because I've already had more jobs than you and your careers about 10 times longer than

Speaker 2 5:50
Oh, am I know, it's a bit of a hustler when I was younger, or apprenticeship. So you know, I guess I'm showing my age now. But back in the 90s, I was on $137 a week as an apprenticeship. So I worked at DJ, and I would work in a butchery shop and a big retailer, like I said, security guard, chef at other venues, you know, and I always had this, you know, I wasn't the brightest kid when I was younger at school, you know, to be the playing sport or mucking around with the boys or chasing girls. But when I got older, I always had a work ethic, right? So that was instilled in me since the age of 12. I was on a milk round. And you know, it was always if you want something you want the latest shoes, or if you want the good shirt, yeah, the guy out there and work for it. Mom and dad didn't, you know, taught us that, you know, things don't come easy, you know, and that kind of leads me to this day, you know, just work hard network, do your best and be appreciative of what comes in life, you know?

Oli Le Lievre 6:42
So I'm fascinated. Where did the influence and the interest in food come from? Well, I'm

Speaker 2 6:47
a big black man of north of 100 kilos, but I guess we'll get back to school. Right. So my first job was a milk boy, right? So worked for six years on milk ramps, always kind of had that egg kind of thing. And to me on the other side of the supply chain, you know, like providing beautiful Australian produce to the consumer. And I was really passionate about that, that kept me fit. And then, like I said, I wasn't the brightest kid at school, and I loved cars. And I love food. And mom was a great cook. She's a country cook, you know, she could, you know, originally from Claremont, in Queensland, from a producer family that knew how to cook great food. And, you know, we lived in the inner city suburb of Asheville. It's about a case in the CBD in Sydney. And mum saw the local paper this role for this big commercial caterer for an apprenticeship. So she told me about it. And, you know, with whatever role that I was doing, I started at McDonald's, believe it or not 16 So you know, that's where I had my first experiment with beef back that up for three years. So that kind of work, the milk round the butchery at Franklin's, and then the McDonald's skills that was always food base, went through the apprenticeship, we were in the recession, we had to have it not only to Paul Keating set and those 70 people going for the role. And I was selecting five apprentices. So very fortunate at the time to get that apprenticeship. And when you got it, you had to make it work. It's not like today where there's employment all over the place. You know, this was my ticket for a career. And that's it. It just started off from there, you know, and I guess, the way I looked at it, my sister went to uni, and said to myself, you gotta uni you have to pay hex, and you get a degree out of it. And then you got to pay that back and then stop, I have an opportunity to get a certificate or trikes and get paid for it. So I saw that no matter how unless it was, you know, $137 that I was getting money and I was getting this free education. And that thought instilled in me to keep on grinding away from grinding, grinding, grinding away from it. And here we are today mate talking to legends like you.

Oli Le Lievre 8:54
Did you feel like that? Because you want to five to get that apprenticeship. And did that build like incredible loyalty for that employer in the sense of you thought, God, I'm just so lucky to have got this icon are you guys

Speaker 2 9:07
here the big company owns a spotless group and they've recently emerged out of hiring. But we had all the stadiums. So we had all the the SCG the Sydney football stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, we'd get a few boarding schools, we had a diversity all the big banks like Penske and Khan bank and a B, IBM, you know in the day we had all the corporate boardroom catering as well. So, and then we had the mining and defense right so the beautiful thing about that employer was during our apprenticeships, we had six months rotations so you could be working in it. I started off in an oil refinery believing that Colonel Sutherland fire in Sydney feeding refiners big casseroles and curries and wet dishes and roast and you know, and then after six months then I'll pivoted into CommBank cooking for the managing director. So that was all fine dining. When My bread's terrains, ala carte, fine dining. And then I was out at Taronga Zoo in the wedding reception center. So you know, you're changing every six months and then in a stadium, and then in the corporate boardroom, for an accountancy firm. So you kind of had a taste of all different types of Commercial Cookery. So build your strengths across a lot of different businesses, which is why I have a lot of success today. Because I can generally go into any business and really adapt to their style of cooking. And then reverse engineer solution where I see red meat can play a vital part on their menu. And if you make it easy to make it successful, and if you use the right cup, cook method and backed by a wonderful MSA program, and the staff had success with finance and affordable on menu and you give the end customer and experience it's like a drug though, they'll keep on asking you to come back as a free consult if you'd like to open with your business. And that's how we've grown in MLA, you know, we started off with one customer. When I started, you know, our food service program was predominantly trade shows. And, you know, we had our rare medium magazine, but I kind of thought, how can I bring my knowledge because I was the corporate chef for this big catering company and meeting all these execs shifts from hotels QSR as airlines because you met them and all the industry events, right? How can I use those guys come to them knock on their door saying what's your challenges of red meat on menu, can I give you a hand and then at the end of it, find those solutions that make commercial sense to them, give this staff the comfort to have successive red meat on menu and then grow demand. And then in return, what they do is they helped me out if these great stories of how volume increases, you know when to get it right. No one's perfect, you know, but what do we learn from it? This dish didn't work and why didn't No work because we couldn't get enough supply or this cup, or whatever, you know, but we've got a pretty high success rate. You know, we've done some great stuff. But put, like I said, burgers have big QSR chains we've put we've been on cruise ships, airline, you name it, you know, aged care facilities, commercial caterers minds, with fascinating the amount of places that we've helped out, and we've learned from them too. And then this international work on top of that, we're kind of like a ambassador for Australian projects for red meat and going out around the world and, and showcasing our product to new markets and existing markets. So that's invigorating to just come back from European, UK and Dubai. And we were with Emirates, looking at opportunities for beef and sheep meat in their commercial kitchen. And then in the UK, we were meeting wine co did a function with Gina Reinhardt. They came and launch their product into the free trade agreement. So it's fantastic to meet that lovely lady. And then Mrs. Ryan, I should say, and then off to Belgium, where we did a function with 600 people for the European friends over there was seeking free trade agreement in the US. So you know, there's that sense of being proud to be Australian, you know that you're over there on the other side of the world, representing those wonderful producers, and making sure that their product shines. And that to me brings great satisfaction. You want to know what brings a great satisfaction for Sam book is when I got to an industry event. And when I talked to a producer and they say hey, we've seen you've been doing this, it's fantastic. And I told me about this, the interest that they hold, you know, the passion that they hold, because all that hard work that they put into give us that wonderful product. It's really it gives me great pleasure to tell them on how we're succeeding on the end of the supply change. And what challenges we got to you know,

Oli Le Lievre 13:37
are you gonna ask them because on this going from your 20 odd years, as a corporate chef coming into Maine last Australia, you mentioned there was really only it was a tiny division, there was one customer so I guess you didn't, you might have been able to see the opportunity. But if you flick it back 10 years, what do you remember about that decision of deciding to come into MLA and maybe the first interactions you had with people where you thought, God, this is a good job?

Speaker 2 14:02
I guess it's probably wrong and they sign it though its customers but not in the way that we're doing things reverse engineering solution, right? So they held great masterclasses and that's how I met MLA, you know, because I came here when I was at spotless and did great master classes with us. And they had a great comms program. They were at all their trade shows, and they did fantastic things with chess and competitions. But I kind of looked at it I kind of put a little bit of Sandberg touch on it, and then kind of developed this console business where we worked hand in hand with foodservice to grow demand in hand with our corporate butcher in the meat Standards Australia team, Kelly Payne, right. So it was kind of like that was the spin off on on it. But when I came to MLA, look, I'm not gonna lie. It was nervous, right? You're an employee for 20 years. And then you're pretty much the food standards manager, and then you gotta come and start it all again. Right? So I worked incredibly hard, because I was in a more senior corporate position that spotless swear It wasn't in the Watson's match, right. So I wouldn't say more senior, but also in a different role. So it was like a more of a business analyst role. So, you know, writing tenders for new business, to business development, Team menus, mobilizing sites, all that kind of stuff, you know, starting up new teams. Whereas when I came out MLA, I had to learn really fast again, to be a chef, right, and learn how to use every cut of the caucus, because that time, you know, you kind of learn about a percent of the caucus or the line cuts, right. So you know, yet so the line is scotch, the tenderloin or your backstrap for the lamb or Irak, you know, your leg. But what about all the other parts of the carcass? And how did they cook up this? So the great learning or Hudson did meet standards Australia team and in particular gentleman called Kelly pine is still with us today. And the whole this book up is the MSI eating quality guide. Right? Well, he went through every cup with me and sat down and showed me what's the best cup cook utilization, right. And then I went away and experimented like all shifts to try this cut for that discount for that different cooking methods, combi ovens, you know, bread pans, su v, all these different cooking methods of red meat and what cuts work best and what kept the best yield. For example, if you cook a lamb shoulder at the grace for 10 hours, rather than 160 to 170 for three hours, or two and a half hours, you have more moisture content in that product. Because you've cooked at flour, you're high, you're right, you're roasted, more moist than you lose out of the product. Now, if you're cooking, 200 kilos of product, and you can save 10 to 20% on yield by cooking that product slower, and you're in a big mining camp. That's money, right. So it's not always about the recipe, it's about the right method to make a commercial business decision, the pilot activate another thing too, right. So if you're talking to chefs, they are so busy. But if you show them how to do two or three dishes that you can slow cooking and oven that frees your time up to go and do something else. So might not always be a commercial benefit of cost of goods. But it can be a commercial benefit of time. That oven pumping away when they're at home, preparing although or slow braised lamb or slow braised beef chuck or something like that they come in in the morning, they got a beautiful gelatinous meal that's already done. And they can finish it off with a few condiments or Freuds and then have time to their stock tag or even have time to have a break. So when we talk to partners, yeah, a lot of it's commercially about money and best buying practice and right cut for cook utilization. But a lot is about giving Pong back to the chef's to actually do a better job and offer a better product to the consumer. So that's the way we think at MLA.

Oli Le Lievre 17:52
And that just makes logical sense, doesn't it? Instead of trying to fabricate some sort of Utopia is literally meeting people where they're at going, please your problems. And if I can give you back an hour a day, or whatever it might be five hours a week. Yeah, it makes complete sense to people. Now, the part you haven't touched on, you talked about cooking it cruise lines and all of this, I want to know do you get nervous when you roll out at these different events for five 600 odd people and cook for them still

Speaker 2 18:19
100% Because I think a bit of nerves keeps you grounded, right? There's always opportunities where things go wrong. But at the end of the day, I guess are meticulously planned everything I do. I really go over the top like before we've got on this line today, I'm writing ingredients for my demonstration tomorrow, I'm just showing it to you and bring you in on me. And I've got 90% of my prep done, but hang on, you know we're gonna do a great red meat dish at the EPA but let's show him how to make panzanella salad which we got wonderful some lamb kebabs anonyme rather than just to kebabs, right? So I'm meticulous amount of planning goes into whatever we do. And that greatly helps in our for example, you you go to the EU, you're cooking for 600 We take a small team with us, you don't want an opportunity to get that red meat order. Right. Right. Because it's not like if you're down you can order a wholesaler to bring you some ballsy beef and lamb when you're indulgent. Right, one opportunity one order. That's it, you know, you've got that, right. You stuffed that up, you burn that. Is that room fair? Right. And, and I guess it all comes down to experience, you know, 30 years in the game this year, you know, so my a bit of a timer on it now and and just like very comes experience, you know, but not everything runs smooth. But it's the way you react when things don't go well. That counts. And if you go into a panic does nothing. Just put your head down, keep calm and carry on, as I say, and we always get there at the end. But you know, there's a touch of nervousness in whatever I do because I just want to get it right. And I just like everyone, I've got a great responsibility. Producers have put me on a plane to fly to the other side of the world wherever present a product, we're going to damn well make sure that it's at its very best when we serve it to the customer. And we're telling the story, and we're giving the passion to them. So they're on the journey with us to buy our product. So well made, I

Oli Le Lievre 20:13
can definitely say the passion comes through in spades. I'd love to know, have you got a moment in your career that you look at really fondly as being like a career defining moment?

Speaker 2 20:23
Good question. I reckon joining MLA, I reckon was the best decision I've ever made. I seriously do because I love my old employer thanking me wrong 20 years for them, but always had a passion for barbecuing and red meat and cooking the protein. So to get that job was amazing. And I guess another thing was, we did a big dinner in 2016 for the Queen's Young Achievers. So the Queen appointed 20 People from around the Commonwealth. And then they had a reception with her. And then we did a dinner at Australia house in Holborn in England with Australian red meat, and actually got a letter from the queen. And it's in my office. So that's kind of like a big thing for me in either, but it's quite a bit. Yeah,

Oli Le Lievre 21:08
man. That's incredible.

Speaker 2 21:09
Yeah. So it's, you know, I don't have to wait to 100 to get a letter from the King Do you know, check out a bit earlier. Not that I want that to happen. But anyway, yeah. So that was a bit of a Cree defining moment in I guess, being a father to you. And other means. Balancing in, you know, bringing your girls into your career and making sure that they're passionate about eating right. And they all eat red meat, they got no other choice. You know, there's no vegans in my family. Free strong girls that are very fit to MMA and love in you know, follow my journey. It's pretty cool with the middle one goes to school and all the kids are following the dad on Instagram. Like it embarrassed. But you know, it's a bit of a track or somebody's been an old chef, right? When that happens, you know? Yeah.

Oli Le Lievre 21:56
And you'd probably just jump on the latest trends. We're near the latest dances and god knows what else it

Speaker 2 22:01
was. I thought it turned 18 last month. And for the birthday, we didn't have a cake we sing happy birthday to the brisket. So it's like a barbecue brisket in the backyard. Right and covered across the great. And they will love that Mike, because kids in the western suburbs, you know, the mainland, got a lot of multicultural people, and they don't eat a lot of beef ate a lot more lamb and different types of products, you know, so for them to have a beef brisket. It was a real treat, you know, the only thing is to get kept on asking do you do kids parties? And again, I'm too busy. Right? When I get to the weekend is crashed on the couch, watch already?

Oli Le Lievre 22:37
How do you balance that? Obviously, I'm gonna say we're not a young family, but a family that kids going through some pretty formative years. And obviously the demands, I daresay that expectation because of what you're representing and doing for Australian red meat, I'm sure that demand really pulls at you a lot in terms of where you're going to be.

Speaker 2 22:55
I've got a good wife, we chose to Jamila to have the most important role is looked after those free kids. And we're very fortunate to be able to do that. So her job is just looking after those girls and make sure they get off to school, got one in uni now, and, you know, keeps everything afloat at home. So I can really do what I do. And she's so patient, you know, they understand that this role involves a lot of travel, and I'm away at home a while but when I'm home, I'm home. So I'm generally just hanging around the house or mowing the lawn or sipping a ginger beer in the backyard or, you know, I've got a vested in Holden Commodore cups for HSV and take that out and a bit of a lead just hanging around the neighborhood might you know, just to the things at all. I've got a gym in the backyard frothy whites around so I'm a bit of a homebody because when I'm on the ride, I'm always busy, you know, so I get to Friday afternoon, I just crash and from this, you know, I love my rugby league and love my barbecuing in August 15 barbecues in the backyard. quite mad

Oli Le Lievre 23:58
that you don't really do actually. Yeah.

Speaker 2 24:02
One of them my cousin Mike from me say that he makes bodies up and you burn for mines, right? You know, there's big trucks that in the mines, the big wheels know that he does roll cages and all that so he sided Absolutely he builds our barbecues so we built a two and a half ton Parilla Argentinian Parilla and it does article 50 steaks in eight minutes. It's I turned the backyard into a steakhouse My

Oli Le Lievre 24:27
oh my god, how big is your back? Yeah, it's

Unknown Speaker 24:28
not that big but it's full of barbecue off goes nuts.

Oli Le Lievre 24:33
To be very patient there to do the barbecues in the woods. Yeah, it's

Speaker 2 24:37
either a lot of slow braising a lot of cooking out either point back and track off, you know a bit of a I've got a good guest Bobby, but you know more red meat over flames kind of guy. And I say that. What do you think the Romans is so cool when you're sitting around a fire and you're cooking meat and then feeding others Half the time I don't even eat, you know, so it's awesome.

Oli Le Lievre 24:58
I think I'm gonna write I'm gonna run On my bucket list to go to a barbecue and sandbags back. Yeah, there's

Speaker 2 25:03
been a few make your committee to one make the doors always open. But it'd be good to see Ollie, you let me know when you're in Sydney to next and we'll make that happen.

Oli Le Lievre 25:11
Sounds Good god, it's not a bad gig I've got is it? I'm getting the chattel. So on the red meat front, let's chat about some of the, I guess emerging trends and things that you're seeing. So I'd love to know, from your perspective, how do you balance the different and competing priorities of consumers around price, sustainability, convenience, all of those things that how do you actually approach that in the different conversations that you have?

Speaker 2 25:34
Okay, so for our booth marketing campaigns, we really look at the midweek meal, and healthy nutritionist smaller portion, sustainable eating. Instead, we talk about sustainability all the time, right. And I guess the real challenge is right at the end of supply chain Aurukun for the consumer or the person eating because if the producer goes to all that trouble of making a wonderful product, that then leaves a farm gate goes all the way to the truck to the processing plant, then goes all the way to the wholesaler, and then all the way to the restaurant. And then at the end, if the consumer cooks too much, and it goes in the bin, or has a bad experience with it. That's the biggest thing, right? You know, so I guess when we talk to food services, how do you cut down on waste? So what we like to do and MLA is we like to promote balanced meals for Australian beef. So could it be a smaller portion, and then go on to the diet. So you know, I still love my big 250 or 300, grand ribeye steak, if not peppercorn sauce, tips and salad, right, but what we're trying to say is, you know, you could have a nice 125, to 150 gram meal with more salads as part of a vitality bowl, or a few kebab skewers or a stir fry, and we try to talk about what's the right cut, that's gonna give the consumer the best experience at the end. Because if they stuff it up, and they pay good money for the product, or there's a good chance, they're going to try something else next time. So we're really focusing on 46 ingredients, simple method, right? Cut, easy to prepare, and family favorite. Right, you know, for budding families and, and single incomes and, you know, and couples as well. So you might want to get a quick, quick nutrition fix before you go and fully training for the kids on a Thursday night, right? What's a good dish, beef tacos, skewers, to fry InterDesign, I'll put this small piece of track in a slow cooker, raise it down. So when I come home, I'll just do a beautiful salad on the side. And I've got a wonderful slow cook, secondary cut this Luddites beautiful arrangements committing further leandria to give great success of the product, right? And then for lamb, we look at lamb has been the product that brings all the cultures together, right? You know, so if you look at Australian land, you look at the Middle East, and we've had lamb schwannoma and the Humber gene, which is the pizza, some Basik. And then the Greeks of lucky. Ross, the training stewards for new clients, Sunday lamb rice, and the Aziz, you know, you know, it's the protein when you think about it, right? That brings everyone together for a celebration. So that's the way we market, we used to say you never leave him alone. Right? That was the old campaign, right? There was always, you know, someone come over, and now it scared the land, right? Because Australian lamb is a celebration protein, if you like, that brings people together to enjoy good times across a multitude of cultures. So that's the way that we've marketed that protein. And then, you know, when we talk about Australian goat, give go to go, right, those secondary cuts, they slow braising cuts, goats the most consumed meat in the world. So it's how do we bring that protein in so that consumers can enjoy it in Australia, because it's not probably as prevalent as the other proteins that we're used to? You know, so there's a challenge there. So it's understanding where that protein fits best. And we do a lot of consumer research about what they're eating, what the trends are. And then we plan our programs to utilize, you know, with that research and insights, that information and give the best possible opportunity to market that product. Yeah.

Oli Le Lievre 29:19
And so is the work you're doing now, like, are you far more in touch with the consumer than like in your previous life?

Speaker 2 29:25
Look, it depends on the project. Right? So being the corporate chef, I work across a multitude of the businesses so you know, my core role is business development and food service, however, now and then we get pulled into working with the big retailers on projects, and then working for r&d science team, you know, or MLA donor company on innovation. Pretty cool stuff. You know, we've done 3d printed meat, you know, head of a meat paste, you know, we've done total extrusion of caucus where they blast the meat off the bone and make bone broth for athletes and things like that. So that's really cool r&d stuff, you know, boom. said protein content for people in aged care, you know, mixing red meat with other ingredients to give them a boost in iron, zinc and protein for their diet, you know, so it's, you know, we're always doing something different. And that's what I love about the role, you know, one minute, you can be developing a burger for a big train next minute, like I said, you could be on a cruise ship. Next minute, you could be about 30,000 feet in an airline, you know, when you're at 30,000 feet, you lose the taste receptors in your mouth. So we've got to adjust the seasoning in the red meat products, so you can taste it, you know, when you're up in the sky flying. So it's all that kind of stuff that you learn about the product, and especially over 10 years, you know, you never stop learning, you just get more and more focused, and you see what other people were doing. And you know, we're so lucky to have all those resources like YouTube, and just the guys in the backyard, what are they doing with the product, how they have been successful, big American, blonde, slice, reverse searing, all those kind of scenes, you know, take that inspiration away, you know, learn from those quotes, you know, just a wonderful role. And something I'm very fortunate and proud to be part of.

Oli Le Lievre 31:03
So interestingly, I'm thinking of this from the like, from a consumer lens for myself. And as you were mentioning, like helping consumers understand that, rather than I guess it's the big portion of meat and a few veggies on the side, it's actually like, the meat becomes the hero, but it's based around the veggies and things you've got on the plate. So the retailer's would have huge influence. And like I'm just thinking, especially here from food waste, portion size, all of that is really quite influenced by the retailers and is that something we're going to continue to see is smaller and smaller portions?

Speaker 2 31:36
Yeah, I guess, I guess, look, this celebrations that we have, right, you know, Christmas time, you got the you know, more on what we're thinking people now they're moving away from the ham and all that they're putting the big Tomahawk in the middle of the table. And then 70 of seafood and prawns, you know, having a bit of a serpent turf Christmas, right. So this is big celebration accounts where there's a big or that you know, that bonafide lamb leg in the middle of that table that's carved out, right. So there's those opportunities where we use it as a centerpiece if you like, which happens a lot when people dine out, right. So more and more when you're dining out, and you get your Senate protein in the middle, and you get all these different sides, and you go and create a wonderful, wonderful dish. But I guess at home, what we're trying to do is, you know, we want people to feel good about eating red meat, right? And how we do it is you know, it's gone are the days like in the 90s, you know, when there was one type of bread, multigrain, or why. And then you had your steak in the free veg, right? Different types of cultures that we've got, we've got to make our protein acceptable to different types of cultural eating experiences, right, because of the cultures that we have in our country. So that's changing, right? Not everyone's like Australia, where we've had that 200 grams of protein, and then the vegetables, there's a lot of people that have competent issues, curries, and what dishes and salads. So as the populations evolving with all these different cultures that we've got near this multicultural, beautiful country that we call Australia, we have to adapt their cuisine to their tastes, as well as take the traditional stuff that we like, as well. We're not providing a solution which they used to in which they enjoy to eat. So you've got to think about that as well. And always like to try different things with the most adventurous people where, you know, we want to try red meat in different ways, too, right? So it's either you just got to keep on evolving, keep on looking at balanced opportunities, right, where we have a healthy balance of protein and vegetables, and make people feel good about it. So we remain as part of an integral part of the healthy dietary guidelines and people feel good about in the product. And you know, alternatively, Australia's biggest market for red meat for Australian products, still 30% of the product is here. So it's an important market, and we're going to make people continue to enjoy it, you know what I mean, and defend our place on the CLI. And that's our role. You know, we're always out there, working hand in hand with the end consumer and listening, right, not just assuming listening, and the reverse engineering solutions that are going to work for them, you know, so that's where our research and insights team do a marvelous job, right? They always keep us up to date with what consumers are doing, what they're eating. So then we can adapt our programs to best market interest, you know, and make sure that people are enjoying that wonderful product and menu.

Oli Le Lievre 34:25
And I think something you say there, Sam, something you said there, which I heard Howard from pollinate their market research group share earlier this year was around, like consumers really just don't want to feel guilty about what they're doing, and how can we in our communications in what we do, getting the information across to people so they can eat consume from a place where there's no guilt involved. And that seems like a Yeah, I think a really important thing for us to do as a broader ag industry is going well how do we actually help people they don't need there's enough anxiety and pressure around life in general. Let's not do it when it comes to share meals.

Speaker 2 35:01
100% like food is a very important part of people's lives, right? So, if you ask people what they remember, they remember a good meal, or they remember a good song on the radio, you know where you are here at song, you remember that song where you were in that part of life where you enjoy it, whether it be at the park, or you know, on a team bus on the way from football match or whatever you're not I mean, but sound familiar have a good occasion you remember where you kneel, and think it's good memories, right? So we always think about that, too. You know, food, stickers, memories. So let's create good memories, good Australian red meat product. And I really made it you know, so I had a great night. Last night I was at the annual beef off, I got invited a process to that in the regatta hotel that where we had all different steaks, and we're just trying and writing, we'd find out what you enjoyed the most. And that was a interesting way to enjoy your protein. You know, we didn't have a big steak yet or like a little paddle for different types from different producers, so I guess some good panto good fun. And the moment so remember, United foods very important to me as it is all throughout the world. Yeah,

Oli Le Lievre 36:06
for sure. Now, Sam, one question to finish on, and I asked everyone that comes on the podcast, so you're not getting away from it. But if you had the chance to go down and chat to your 10 students about careers in agriculture, if you were to stand up in front of them right now, what would you say to them?

Speaker 2 36:21
I'd say, one of the best diverse industries in Australia, and it's the backbone of Australia, right? And go out there and do it, there's so much to do in this wonderful environment, and that people are the salt of the earth. And it's a small network, you know, we are a big country. But when we all come together, we all know each other from somewhere, right? So it's a big part of it, you know, big part of the family. And agriculture is a unique opportunity for people who go out there and make a difference to Australians, you know, what I mean? It's agriculture is the backbone of the country, you take agriculture and mining out of Australia, and we're nothing. So come and join the backbone of Australia, agriculture. 10 out of 10. For me, it's been a great journey for me. And it's something that I'm quite proud of, because my grandparents on my mom's side, were producers for a very long time. Big Red Meat eaters. And we'd have corn fritters for breakfast. And it's something that I'm very proud of. And I think, if you want to go out there and do it, you want to create it, you're going to be proud of agriculture is the whitest guy that diversity is amazing. And the people even better, so don't waste time. Go out there and do it.

Oli Le Lievre 37:31
Well, Sam, I've loved that chat this morning. I just find your enthusiasm, infectious. Literally, as I said, it was your energy at that MLA updates years ago that caught my eye. And I love that man, thank you so much for sitting down for a chat. My dislikes

Speaker 2 37:45
are on at my house. Let me know when you're in ETM. And we'll fire up the Bobby and for everyone listening, you know, do support these guys. It's a wonderful podcast. And I think yourself Emily and the team do a great job and keep going. Well done. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Oli Le Lievre 38:02
Thanks, Sam. We'll catch up with you soon. Cheers. Right. Well, that's it for another episode from us here at humans of agriculture. We hope you're enjoying these podcasts. And well if you're not, let us know. Hit us up at Hello at humans of Get in touch with any guests recommendations topics, or things you'd like us to talk and get curious about. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend. Right subscribe, review it. Any feedback is absolutely awesome. And we really do welcome it. So look after yourselves. Stay safe. stay sane. We'll see you next time.

Transcribed by