Royal Dutch Veal

Asian Rice Noodles with strips of veal

Veal Makes a Comeback

The Royal Dutch Veal challenge heats up.

In August, Royal Dutch Veal announced an exciting partnership with four diverse chefs across the U.S. As part of their “veal challenge,” each chef will create LTOs in their respective restaurants using different cuts of this versatile meat.

The prominent chefs—Mark Ulrich, Marcos Ascencio, Jerome Watkins, and Lisa Carlson—operate a range of restaurants and culinary venues, including food trucks, event venues, fine-dining establishments, and casual cafes. They recently received their requested cuts, so the challenge is officially underway.

Mark Ulrich, executive chef at Cecil Creek Farm in Mickleton, New Jersey, requested the tenderloin and received a beautiful veal butt tender. “The size was nice, they were clean, and you could tell they were milk-fed veal by the coloring,” he says. “You can tell by how the product was handled, packed, cryovaced, and shipped that is was very high quality meat.” Ulrich says the butt tenderloin isn’t something customers see every day and as such, can be billed as a specialty item. It can also appeal to health-conscious diners. “It’s leaner and needs minimal trimming,” he says.

Chef Marcos Ascencio of The Ivy Room at Tree Studios in Chicago was pleasantly surprised when he received his veal package. “Typically when I get veal, it is frozen,” he says. “But the scaloppini I received was fresh and individually cryovaced. As I was butchering it, it had a beautiful pink color.”

Ascencio couldn’t resist and prepared a small portion of the scaloppini plain as a taste test. “It was buttery soft,” he says. He plans to return to his old haunt, Bar Lupo in Chicago’s River North, for the LTO. “We hardly ever get to use a product like that at Bar Lupo, but we did have a chicken parmesan that was popular—it’ll be cool to do a twist on that classic.”

When Jerome Watkins, owner of Cafe Rosa in College Hill, Pennsylvania, got his veal striploin, he says, he was impressed. “The color, the presentation, and the quality were satisfactory for the high level of cooking that we do.”

Watkins has been building hype for the LTO among his regular customers and already has several people waiting to try his veal creation. “Some people say they’ve never had it, but are willing to give it a try,” he says. “Veal is becoming more mainstream now that people understand how the animals are kept and fed, and it’s so versatile—you can cook it anywhere from rare to well done depending on the cut.”

Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer, owners of Chef Shack in Bay City, Wisconsin, are finicky about the meat they serve in their brick-and-mortar restaurant as well as their popular food truck. “The product—a whole shank—was very fresh, quality meat,” says Carlson. The duo are known for their creativity, and have an unexpected surprise up their sleeves for the challenge. “Veal works like a blank canvas,” Summer says, “so you can really bring your talent to the table and show your finesse.”

Stay tuned to see the mouthwatering recipes the chefs create with their product.