A group of Mt Gambier High School students are taking part in BeefLegends, a Food Agility CRC collaborative project that is tracking beef from Blue Lake Station in South Australia into China.

Last Tuesday (28 May 2019) they are cooking steaks with a visiting delegation of Chinese chefs while discussing local food culture and the changing preferences of Chinese consumers.

The Blockchain in Beef Exports project is a Food Agility initiative led by QUT and BeefLedger. The team is using new digital technologies to track beef from paddock to plate in a bid to stamp out ‘fake steak’ in international export markets and to value-addthrough data.

But BeefLedger Chairman and Food Agility partner Warwick Powell says the research team is not just collecting hard data in the beef supply chain.

“We’re working with Mt Gambier High School students over the next six months, teaching them data visualisation and helping them create digital content that tells their local food stories,” says Mr Powell.

“When Chinese consumers and suppliers scan the packaging, not only will they see the data to prove their steak is 100% Aussie, they’ll hear the rich stories of beef production in the Mt Gambier region.”

The students have been filming interviews with local producers and will also visit The Cube at QUT, one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display centres.

A delegation of 7 ‘culinary masters’ from Changshu provided the perfect opportunity to connect the two ends of the beef supply chain and help students better understand Chinese consumers.

Chris Holen (pictured below) is an Alaskan-born chef who is leading the delegation as part of the Chef Outta Water Program and is passionate about regional towns developing their own distinct food cultures.

“To be able to talk to customers in my restaurant about where their steak came from and how it was produced is worth something,” says Mr Holen.

“I’ve seen regional towns in the United States revitalise their economy through food, both in terms of food tourism and through the stories they export along with the product as a value-add. This can happen in regional Australia too.”