Thursday, May 19, 2022

Restaurant Association Educates and Unites Local Service Industry Through Ham

The Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association got together to learn about ham from Smithfield Culinary. (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association (WARA) held a meeting on March 30 to discuss a very important matter for its members as the spring season rolls around: ham.

Attendees learned everything about Virginia’s famous protein, from how its prepared, can be served, and what to expect in terms of product yield.

Cori Van Wagoner of Smithfield Culinary, a branch of Smithfield Foods, said that her main goal for these kinds of functions is to educate the restaurants’ staffs.

“Ham is the meat that a staff member will say that they don’t know anything about,” Van Wagoner said of spring staple. “But in reality it is the easiest one for them to learn. People think that you can only use it in a sandwich or in a salad, but really there is so much more you can do with it.”

Throughout the afternoon meeting, which took place at Rocco’s Smokehouse Grill, located at 207 Bypass Rd., Van Wagoner and Affinity Group Culinary Expert Jennifer Bajit went over every variety of ham that Smithfield has available for restaurants.

On hand for the class were representatives from the Blue Talon Bistro, Sportsmans Grill and Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que.

While the focus of this particular gathering was on ham, WARA meetings can cover a whole host of different topics from professional development of restaurant staffs to networking.

WARA’s members include dozens of restaurants, breweries and distillieries from around the Historic Triangle. Its goal is to promote and portect the economic interests of the Williamsburg Industry by maintaining a convivial business environment.

To learn more about WARA, please visit its website.

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