Speaker Biographies

Beef: From Plains to Plate


Follow the Cattlemen’s Trail to Savory Midwest Beef Traditions


October 23-25, 2009


Speaker Biographies



Dell Allen, The beef industry yesterday, today and tomorrow 


Dell Allen was on the faculty at Kansas State University for 22 years, directed the KSU Meat Laboratory, coached the meat judging team giving him the opportunity to visit meat plants extensively. His research efforts were primarily in beef carcass composition.

Del joined Excel Corporation, now known as Cargill Food Solutions, eventually serving as Vice President of Technical Services and Food Safety responsible for the company’s food safety and quality standards. His leadership in food safety issues put Excel in the forefront of systems to improve food safety.



Hans Aeschbacher, The Steakhouse Chef’s Vital Role in selecting, Preparing and Serving the Finest Cuts of Beef.


Hans Aeschbacher CEC AAC, Executive Chef Trader Vic’s Chicago, American Culinary Federation.  Aeschbacher has fed and played host to many of America’s most celebrated figures. He received his degree in cooking from the Gewebeschule in Biel, Switzerland, has an advanced degree in business from the Hotel Fachshule in Bern. Hans cooked at the Compleat Angler in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England, at the Hotel Eden Arosa Limmathof in Baden, and the Rathaus in Biel.  Having fulfilled his mandatory military service as head chef for the Swiss Army, he arrived in Los Angeles working at the Century Plaza and the Forum then moved to Chicago as Chef de Cuisine at La Chiminee, followed by eleven years at Lawry’s Prime Rib and establishing his own business Chef Hans’ Restaurant and Lounge, Inc.


Aeschbacher returned to Los Angeles running Lawry’s California Center. The Wirtz family lured him back to Chicago as executive chef for the Chicago Stadium and United Center.  As executive chef he was employed at the Ridgemoor Country Club, as a consultant for the Edelweiss Restaurant before joining Smith & Wollensky in 1998; he was appointed executive chef of Trader Vic’s Chicago in 2009.



Steve Foglesong,  Feedlots


Steve Foglesong is the owner of Black Gold Ranch located in Illinois. With his wife and children, he operates a cow-calf, stocker, feedlot, and replacement heifer development program. He attended the University of Illinois where he received a bachelor’s degree in animal science.


Steve is active in many agricultural organizations. He is a member and past president of the Illinois Beef Association, and is currently serving as NCBA’s President-Elect. He was appointed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board by the Secretary of Agriculture and also served on the Beef Check-off Working Group.


He has held other positions within NCBA including Membership and Association Services Committee Chairman, Region III Vice President, New Marketing Initiatives Committee member, and member of the Blue Ribbon Commission. While serving in these roles, Steve provided strategic direction for resource development to achieve the goals and objectives of the industry’s Long Range Plan. He also helped guide the coordination between NCBA, state affiliates, beef councils and other industry organizations.


Steve, and his wife, Linda, have raised four children, Nate, Drew, Cole and Kaitlin. In his spare time, he continues to work on enhancing the wildlife habitat on the ranch and participates in local groups such as his county cattlemen’s association, school board and Extension.



Dave Hamilton, Cow-Calf Producer


Dave Hamilton is a fourth generation cow/calf producer from Thedford, Nebraska located in the Sandhills of Nebraska.  He and his wife, Loretta, have four grown daughters and they manage the Reed Hamilton Ranch that has been in Dave’s family for 111 years.  Dave is a past member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and its Executive Committee, past chairman of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Marketing Committee and Cow/Calf Council.  He is currently chairman of the International Markets Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA) and he chairs the Nebraska Beef Council.  Dave currently serves on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee that oversees the investment of national beef checkoff dollars. 


Besides being active in the beef industry, Dave is also active in his community and church.  He is a 20 year member of the Thedford Public Schools Board of Education where he served as chairman for 10 years.



David Hammond, Maxwell Street Tour


David Hammond, a writer living in Oak Park, IL, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the Chicago culinary chat site, and a regular contributor of food-related articles for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Reader. David was featured on “Good Morning, America,” “Chicago, Tonight,” and Nippon TV when he developed recipes for preparing cicadas, and he is a returning guest on WLS and WGN radio. He produces regular segments for WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio. 

Robert Hatoff, Beef Wholesale & Retail: the Steakhouse Purveyor in a Changing Market.

Allen Brothers originated in the heart of Chicago’s fabled Union Stockyards in 1893, and has been specializing in the finest meats and gourmet foods for four generations with an unwavering    commitment to excellence. Led by the father and son team, Bobby and Todd Hatoff the company is the leading purveyors to the nation’s most exclusive and demanding steakhouses and finest   restaurants, they have an intimate understanding of fine dining work closely with many of America’s top chefs. Their wholesale business has grown nationwide to include long relationships with major restaurants such as Morton’s and Gene and Georgetti’s. Consumers from coast to coast know Allen Brothers for its “best of the best” USDA Prime steaks and roast as well as other high quality meats and for the unsurpassed selection of foods for fine dining at home offered in its catalog and on the website.

Bobby is an active member of the North American Meat Processors Association, the North American Meat Association, American Culinary Federation and Chicago Chefs Association, Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Chicago, Catering Executives Club of America, the Economics Club of Chicago, and the      Standard Club of Chicago.



John Huston, From Beef Producer to the Consumer


John Huston is retired and executive vice president emeritus with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, after 32 years of full-time service.


Huston joined the beef industry team in 1967 as assistant secretary of the Beef Industry Council of the National Live Stock and Meat Board. He was named vice president of the Meat Board in 1969 and took a leave to the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) in 1978 to serve as executive director of the Beeferendum. In 1980, following the campaign, he was appointed president of the Meat Board and continued in that position until 1996 when the Meat Board and NCA consolidated.


In early 1996, the Meat Board and NCA joined operations to form the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a consumer-driven, producer-directed organization representing all segments of the industry. At that time Huston assumed the role of Executive Vice President of the Consumer Marketing Center for NCBA. He retired from NCBA in 2000.


A native of Roseville, Illinois, Huston grew up on a general livestock and grain farm. He has a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education with an Animal Science option from the University of Illinois and received the Coultas Memorial Award as the College of Agriculture’s outstanding senior. John was inducted into the International Stockmen’s Hall of Fame and named Agri-Marketer of the Year in 1995 by the Chicago Chapter of NAMA.



Larry Jacoby, Halal (and Kosher) in the Heartland


Larry Jacoby operates a 140 acre sheep and goat farm, manages 450 sheep and goats and direct markets USDA halal certified lamb and kid. Over the last five years, Larry has focused on marketing lamb and goat products to culturally diverse families and communities. This has required infrastructure development and the collaboration of State and Federal meat inspection agencies, slaughter facilities, and consumer guidance and support. He markets directly to consumers with diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds including Hispanic, Somali, Indian, Turkey, Russian, Orthodox Jewish and Ethiopian. He was involved with the start-up of a Somali restaurant in Barron, Wisconsin including facility design, equipment procurement and halal slaughter logistics.



Bruce Kraig, Maxwell Street Tour


Bruce Kraig is an accomplished scholar in the history of food within the larger context of the social and cultural history of the United States. He holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and has won numerous awards including the Silver Apple Award for “Hidden Mexico,” and an Emmy and CHRIS awards for the program “Hidden China,” as well as the Gold Apple and Bronze Medal for the program “Food for the Ancestors.” Bruce is President of Culinary Historians of Chicago and of Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance.

Barbara Kuck: Great Midwest Steak Houses from Stage Coach Days Today.


Barbara Kuck, Culinary Historian & Chef, Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance. Kuck is a Food Arts Silver Spoon recipient. Much of her career was spent as a chef at “The Bakery” Restaurant and Louis Szathmáry Food Management Consultants with Chef Louis Szathmáry on a myriad of projects. Among her duties she served as the curator of the Szathmáry Family Culinary Collection for a quarter of a century, and was instrumental as curator/director in establishing the Culinary Archives & Museum on the east coast before relocating back to Chicago. A renowned historian whose graphic and historical research is featured in countless publications such as the Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in American, exhibitions, television and in the films “Age of Innocence”, “Amistad”, “Beloved”, “Haunted House” etc. Her passion if food history.



Russell Lewis, Everything But the Squeal: Chicago’s Union Stock Yards


Russell Lewis is the Executive Vice President and Chief Historian of the Chicago History Museum. He is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the Museum’s mission to creatively explore and showcase Chicago’s history and culture, and for preserving, managing, building, and making accessible to the public, the Museum’s collection of more than 22 million documents and artifacts.


Mr. Lewis has been involved in the development of numerous exhibitions, including We The People: Creating A New Nation, 1765–1820 and A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln, and served as project director for the exhibition Chicago Goes to War, 1941–45, the urban history conference Modes of Inquiry for American City History, and the community history initiative Neighborhoods: Keepers of Culture. He has led a number of digitization projects, including The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory; Wet with Blood: The Investigation of Mary Todd Lincoln’s Cloak; Studs Terkel: Conversations with America; and the online version of The Encyclopedia of Chicago.



Victoria Matranga, Culinary Curiosities exhibit at Kendall College


Victoria Matranga, exhibition curator of “Culinary Curiosties” at Kendall College, is design programs coordinator for the International Housewares Association. She is the author of America at Home: A Celebration of Twentieth-Century Housewares. As a museum consultant, she has worked for clients such as Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.



Mark McCully, The Angus Confusion


Mark McCully, Assistant Vice-President for supply development for Certified Angus Beef LLC, leads the company’s efforts to increase the long-term supply of superior Angus-influenced cattle. The division’s multifaceted program includes working with the feedlot industry and cow/calf producers across the United States.


McCully joined Certified Angus Beef LLC in October 2000 as packing director. In June 2002 he shifted to a sales focus, overseeing retail, foodservice and international sales. In March of 2005 he transitioned to supply development. He has completed the requirements for a Master’s of Science from Michigan State University and earned a bachelor’s in science from Western Illinois University, summa cum laude.




Andrew F. Smith, “How Ground Beef on a Bun Conquered the World”


Andrew F. Smith teaches food studies at the New School University in Manhattan. He has written more than three hundred articles in academic journals and popular magazines and has authored or edited seventeen books, including The Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America, a James Beard finalist in 2005. His latest books are Hamburger: A Global History and Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. He has been frequently appeared on several television series, including the History Channel’s “American Eats,” and the Food Network’s “Heavy Weights.”



Kari Underly, From Primal to Cut


Kari Underly is a fresh meat educator, industry expert, merchandising entrepreneur and the Principle of Range, a consultancy dedicated to helping companies in the perishables marketplace develop merchandising tools, profit analysis technology systems and new merchandising strategies to help grow business.


For insights into meat merchandising, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) commissioned Kari to create the current beef cut chart and implement the Beef Value Cuts program in foodservice and retail channels. Additionally, she participated in creating and launching new cuts that would appeal to a broad audience. The result: the Flat Iron steak and Denver cut, both hugely popular. Kari also wrote and hosted a video series on cutting and merchandising beef, lamb, and pork primals for NCBA, National Pork Producers Council and American Lamb Board. Most recently, Kari led the development team responsible for NCBA’s new Simply Beef marketing program focusing on Beef Alternative Merchandising (BAM).


As her reputation in the industry grew, Kari was asked to appear on an episode of the Food Network’s series, “Unwrapped,” to give viewers the inside scoop on hamburgers. Kari regularly serves as technical advisor and industry expert to trade publications and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.


Range Inc. is located in Chicago, Illinois. Contact us at kari@rangepartners.com



Klaus Weber, (Re-)discovering traditional farming for todays consumers


Klaus Weber is an Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He studies the environmental movement and how cultural understandings of sustainability, tradition, and nature influence food consumption and entrepreneurship in agriculture. Klaus grew up on a family farm in Germany.



Dr. Ben Wileman, Animal Husbandry Practices


Dr. Ben Wileman is a native of South Dakota where he was raised on a cow-calf ranch and worked part-time at a mixed animal veterinary clinic. This experience at the mixed animal clinic is what he cites as the start of his interest in veterinary medicine. Dr. Wileman graduated from South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and then went onto veterinary school at Iowa State University. While in veterinary school he pioneered a student run outreach program that worked in conjunction with the Iowa State Veterinary Medical Association to demonstrate and integrate the online practice management and price benchmarking resources of the AVMA’s National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues into veterinary practices, specifically mixed animal practices. This program has since been adopted by many of the states across the United States and grown into a successful program. Upon graduation he went into mixed animal practice in Belle Fourche, South Dakota where he began to specialize in cow-calf and feedlot preventive medicine and began to take on management duties of the practice. As his interest grew in these areas it led him to seek further and more focused education through a PhD program.


Dr. Wileman is currently at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine working on completing a PhD in Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology. He works along with major professor Dr. Dan Thomson on many areas of research and outreach applied to beef cattle production medicine. Since coming to Kansas State University Dr. Wileman has co-authored and/or narrated over 50 beef and dairy industry multi-media training modules and has been involved in the hands-on and classroom training of the KSU veterinary students. His area of research is focused on life cycle beef production management with emphasis on animal welfare, vaccine technology development and application and management effect measurements. Dr Wileman has also recently become a guest columnist for the K-State Collegian where he writes a column dedicated to animal agriculture issues.