Posted on Jul 02, 2014
It’s a staple in livestock feed, crosses international borders, is significant in the production of ethanol, and more recently, has become quite popular as an ingredient in restaurants and homes of many. Aside from being healthy, nutritious, high in antioxidants, and not genetically modified, Iron Chef Marc Forgione said sorghum is the smart choice for his restaurants because it is naturally gluten-free.
“Every single night we have tables that come in and say ‘We’re gluten free, what can the chef do for us?’” Forgione said. “Now we don’t have to worry about that if we use sorghum in our breads and our pastas, and we can still get the quality and flavor we are looking for.”
Forgione, winner of Food Network’s Next Iron Chef and recipient of the Michelin Star, recently experimented cooking with sorghum for the first time in preparation for the Sorghum Checkoff’s Sorghum360, an event held in New Orleans, La., concurrent with the International Food Technologist Expo on June 22 that featured sorghum’s versatility in recipes.
Doug Bice, Sorghum Checkoff high value markets director, said Sorghum360 was a great way to showcase the opportunities available for the growth of sorghum in the food industry.
“Sorghum360 was a unique opportunity to bring together food companies, manufacturers, processors, formulators as well as research institutions where they got to see sorghum in action,” Bice said.
The half-day event featured a panel of sorghum experts who addressed a number of topics pertaining to sorghum nutrition attributes, health benefits, product development, sorghum through agricultural production, market trends and more.
Best of all, attendees not only got to see sorghum first-hand during a cooking demonstration by Forgione but were also able to taste the one-of-a-kind dishes prepared by the chef.
For the appetizer, Forgione prepared scallop ceviche with crispy sorghum, smoked avocado puree, tomato consommé and sechuan buttons. For the main dish, he prepared strip steak, escargot and braised lettuce with sorghum air bread. Dessert included strawberry sorghum consommé with buttermilk panna cotta and sorrel.
After working with sorghum as a new ingredient, Forgione said he has incorporated it into the menu at his three restaurants in New York City.
Tim Lust, Sorghum Checkoff CEO, said it has been exciting seeing sorghum evolve in the food industry over the years. He said new advances in research and development have made sorghum a multifaceted product that fulfills the needs of its consumers while increasing profitability for producers.
While the food industry currently only makes up two percent of the U.S. sorghum market, Lust said interest in sorghum as an ancient, whole grain continues to gain rise.
“Growers have an opportunity here to really see their industry transform from a feed industry into a food industry, and certainly that comes at a lot higher value,” Lust said, “which is what we are all about at the Sorghum Checkoff.”