Chop Steakhouse & Bar recently announced plans to become the first full-service restaurant chain in Canada to offer steaks featuring certification that recognizes sustainable beef practices.
“The most exciting part of that menu is our new mass balance certification through the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef,” says Stephen Clark, executive chef for Chop Steakhouse & Bar.
Chop Steakhouse also has a certified burger on their menu that they announced early in 2020, and as Clark adds, all of the beef on the menu has a certified sustainable logo attached.
The CRSB certification recognizes sustainable practices in Canadian beef production, verified through third-party auditing, across five principles of beef sustainability: natural resources, people and community, animal health and welfare, food, and efficiency and innovation.
Chop, and Clark personally, felt that as more and more people want to know where their beef is sourced, how fresh it is, and how it was raised, sustainability is the attribute that’s quickly rising to the top of restaurant-goers’ priority list.
Clark says that “Where does your steak come from?” is the number question they get asked, when diners order a steak off the menu.
“I would love to say it comes from this ranch, in this corner of Alberta or Saskatchewan or wherever, but we’re a big organization and so we have to draw from all of the many farms across the country, and that’s why we need an organization like the CRSB to help us ensure that they’re all doing their part to manage water and feed, and all that kind of stuff,” says Clark.
Being on top of the lingo requires the quick elevator pitch to convey the sustainability message to consumers. When rolling out the menu, training for servers was really important, to make sure that all the nuances of sustainability in the cattle industry were properly, and genuinely, communicated.
During the pandemic, Clark says that he and his team made about five years’ worth of decisions in six months. After being able to wade through all the changes, and re-opening plans, an interesting thing he observed was that much of the clientele coming back into their restaurants wanted steak, with big appetites for it, which is reflective of the big demand for beef during 2020 and into 2021.
Catch the full conversation between Clark and Shaun Haney, for more on what goes into creating a menu, his favourite cut of steak, and his thoughts on rare or medium rare: