On Monday, the BeefBar in Fontvieille welcomed newly appointed American Consul General in Marseille, Simon Hankinson, in his first visit to Monaco.
The unique occasion, hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Paris, in cooperation with USDA office in Rome and the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), brought together some 40 restaurateurs in the South of France, Monaco and Northern Italy.
The event was to highlight high-quality organic American beef to the hotel and restaurant industry in the high-value integrated regional market.
Riccardo Giraudi, owner of the BeefBar, is a prime example of high value. Beefbar is part of the Giraudi Group, the European leader in the import of hormone-free US Black Angus for over ten years and the first restaurant to import American organic beef.
“Today we are happy to show you what American beef can offer,” Mr Giraudi, whose group also owns Song Qi, Mozza, Bouchon, La Salière, Moshi Moshi, Grubers and Pantone Café in Monaco, announced as sliders were being sampled by hungry guests, followed by other tasting plates.
Monty Brown of the US Meat Export Federation, took BeefBar’s reputation a step further by commenting: “We are in one of the best restaurants in the world for serving quality American beef.”
Kate Snipes, a USDA Advisor for Agricultural Affairs told Monaco Life, “The US is the largest beef producer in the world and we’re not saying to only import American beef but we have a passion for making quality products to put in front of customers.” Ms Snipes also pointed out that despite common belief about the US cattle industry being industrialised, 97 percent of the beef cattle farms in America are family-run.
Due to EU legislation, only high-quality beef can be imported from the US, which means, according to the US Meat Export Federation, that the beef is “produced from cattle less than 30 months of age” and are part of a non-treated cattle program (NHTC) approved by the EU.
Monaco Life also sat down with Simon Hankinson, US Consul General in Marseille, to talk about his new post in Marseille, which he started in July of this year. “We have a great relationship with the French,” he commented, “and our team works hard at developing people-to-people connections to continue to build on existing Franco-American relations.”
Mr Hankinson grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, although he lived in Paris, as his father was with the Foreign Service, with his family for four years from the age of one. He speaks French, but credits this more to his time in Togo, as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2011-2014. “I find the French very accommodating when you make an effort to speak their language.”
He earned an MA from St Andrews and a law degree from the College of Law, London and in 1999 entered the Foreign Service, which has included posts in Delhi (India), Suva (Fiji), Accra (Ghana) and Bratislava (Slovakia).
From 2014-2015, Mr Hankinson was a Counterterrorism Fellow at National Defense University in Washington, where he earned an MA in International Security Affairs before moving on to Senior Coordinator for Strategic Planning in the Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington.
“Representing the US is a large part of my job,” he said. “We work with various community programs from Toulouse to Menton, and as France has a lot of cultural ceremonies related to war time, I’m often invited to attend.”
Mr Hankinson pointed that the US Consulate General Marseille offers all the consular services of the American Embassy in Paris. And since the US Consular Agency in Nice closed in September 2015, Marseille is now the closest location for American consular, notorial and administrative services on a day-to-day basis, as well as for US citizens in emergency situations, and many of the services can be found online.
Article first published September 18, 2017.