Beef Jerky

Beef. It's What's For Dinner. Debuts at Chicago Gourmet Food & Wine Event

Iowa Beef Industry Council and Illinois Beef Association | October 15, 2018


Jill Johnson, Executive Vice President, Illinois Beef Association, 217-787-4280

Chris Freland, Executive Director, Iowa Beef Industry Council, 515-296-2305

Chef Dave Zino, Executive Chef, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, greets attendees of the Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine event September 28-30

CHICAGO, ILL. -- Food and wine lovers from all over the city of Chicago and the suburbs came out of the woodwork by the thousands to attend the biggest high-end food and wine event of the year on September 28-30: Chicago Gourmet. Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. was prominently displayed as an event sponsor through a partnership with the Illinois Beef Association Checkoff Division (IBA) and the Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC). 

This event, situated on the lawn of downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park, extended the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. campaign’s content and features, educating and exciting Chicago-area consumers about the many benefits beef provides to their lives. Most of the attendees were between the age of 25 to 40, which is a target audience for the Beef Checkoff Program. 

Chef Dave Zino, Executive Chef, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, who developed the recipes, was on hand to talk to attendees about the flavors, preparation tips and to answer questions about cooking with beef. 

The Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine event attracted more than 14,000 consumers during the weekend-long festival September 28-30. 

“We were excited to be part of the Chicago Gourmet event. Cattle farmers and ranchers care deeply about the beef they produce, and it is an honor to showcase beef in a format that highlights beef’s great taste,” said Jill Johnson, IBA executive vice president. “Reaching a large volume of consumers with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. messaging with one jam-packed weekend event in downtown Chicago is a great accomplishment for the beef industry. It was humbling to hear people sample the recipes, make a connection with Chef Dave, and walk away telling their friends how tasty the recipe was and that the plan to make it home.” 

The impact was seen and heard as Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. messaging reached more than 14,000 consumers. To add to the experience, more than 3,500 event attendees’ taste buds were satisfied with Calypso Beef Soup and Classic Beef Bourguignonne Stew recipe samples. These innovative recipes showcased ground beef and chuck roast, and consumers walked away with the recipes and more information about resources available for confidently cooking with beef on

Chris Freland, Executive Director for the Iowa Beef Industry Council added, “As we focus efforts in population dense areas like Chicago, we discovered a vital market for the beef checkoff. Partnering with the Illinois Beef Association and using the resources of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was instrumental in the success of the event.” 


The IBA Checkoff Division is funded by the $1.50-per-head Beef Checkoff and strives to build demand for beef through education, industry information, beef promotion and marketing.   About the Iowa Beef Industry Council:  The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1.50-per-head beef checkoff.  Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand.  For more information, visit