NZ’s top tasting beef steak for 2018 is …

Colleen Knauf - PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin 2018 Grand Champion
Colleen Knauf - PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin 2018 Grand Champion (002)

New Zealand’s top tasting beef steak has been announced at the 2018 PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin Grand Final which took place at Fieldays this week. The title went to Colleen and Jon Knauf of Wairoa with a Simmental which was entered into the Best of Breed – European Class.

This award-winning steak was produced just north of Wairoa on the boundary of Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne by the mother and son team – Colleen and Jon – who were understandably delighted with the win.

“This is the pinnacle of our breeding – it’s why we breed, to get this shield and the recognition for our work. For Simmental – a European breed – to win when Angus and other breeds have done so well in the past is fantastic,” said Colleen Knauf.

“My son Jon – who was unable to attend today due to a road slip – deserves a lot of credit for this, he’s really good with his stock. Using science, stockmanship and Simmental is what has done the trick.”

Head Judge, Graham Hawkes, President of the NZ Chef’s Association and Executive Chef at the renowned Paddington Arms in Invercargill, oversaw proceedings on the day.

“The PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin is the pride of New Zealand’s red meat production – the celebration of all beef breeders in the country. This is how the industry decides the best tasting steak, helping to guide chefs like me on top quality produce.

“The winner, ticked all the boxes for me and really was the hero on the day. It was tender, it was tasty, it had texture and it was so succulent. It really was the champion of champions.”

For the entries to even reach the Grand Final they must have passed a series of stringent examinations. Initially, all 266 entries were sent to Carne Technologies where they were scientifically tested on tenderness, percentage cooking loss in weight, marbling, colour, water binding capacity and pH.

From there, only the very best 53 steaks went forward to the semi-final judging round where a 16-strong panel of chefs came together in Auckland to whittle that number down to the top three medallists in each of the eight categories.

The Grand Champion and Brand Champion – which was awarded to First Light Foods who produced a Wagyu – were then decided today by the five judges which included some of New Zealand’s top chefs: Andrew Clarke, Victoria Street Bistro, Hamilton; Mat McLean, Palate Restaurant, Hamilton and Harry Williams, Alpha Street Kitchen & Bar, Cambridge – with three of the judges current or former Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chefs.

A fifth judge was added to the panel this year after Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s search for the nation’s Ultimate Steak Connoisseur. The title went to Hamilton-based, Gretchen Binns after an inspired application video which set her apart from the rest of the herd.

The annual competition is open to all New Zealand beef farmers, retailers, wholesalers and foodservice suppliers. Now in its 16th year, the PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin is the pinnacle for beef producers in New Zealand, celebrating a product that is internationally renowned for its quality.

The competition is supported by the following processing plants; AFFCO, Alliance Group, Cabernet Foods, Harris Meats Cheviot, Land Meat NZ, Progressive Meats, Taylor Preston and Auckland Meat Processors / Wilson Hellaby.

The 2018 PGG Wrightson Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin award winners are:

2018 Grand Champion: Jon Knauf, Wairoa (Simmental), processed at Land Meat

2018 Brand Champion: First Light Foods, Hastings (Wagyu), processed at Greenlea Premier Meats

CLASS 1: BEST OF BREED – EUROPEAN

  • Gold: Jon Knauf, Wairoa (Simmental), processed at Land Meat
  • Silver: Hayley & Brendon Robinson, Hawera (Charolais), processed at Land Meat
  • Bronze: Peter Maxwell, Auckland (Simmental), processed at Wilson Hellaby

CLASS 2: BEST OF BREED – BRITISH : ANGUS

  • Gold: Chris & Karren Biddles, Tekopuru (Angus), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Silver: Penny & Pete Hoogerbrug, Gisborne (Angus), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Bronze: Paul Williams, Gisborne (Angus), processed at Progressive Meats

CLASS 3: BEST OF BREED – BRITISH : HEREFORD

  • Gold: Dene Noonan, Auckland (Hereford), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Silver: Bill Grounds, Kaitaia (Hereford), processed at AFFCO Moerewa

CLASS 4: BEST OF BREED – BRITISH : OTHER

  • Gold: Graeme John Dyke, Pahiatua (Red Devon), processed at Progressive Meats
  • Silver: Graeme John Dyke, Pahiatua (Red Devon), processed at Progressive Meats
  • Bronze: Graeme John Dyke, Pahiatua (Red Devon), processed at Progressive Meats

CLASS 5: BEST OF BREED – CROSSBREED & OTHER

  • Gold: Nick Perry, Pahiatua (Angus / Gelbvieh), processed at Alliance Levin
  • Silver: Colin Brown, Cambridge (Murray Grey / Wagyu), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Bronze: Don Buchanan, Taumarunui (Piedmontese X), processed at Land Meat

CLASS 6: BEST OF BREED – LIFESTYLE

  • Silver: Doug Wooderson, Te Kuiti (Hereford X), processed at Wilson Hellaby

CLASS 7: BEST OF BRAND – RETAIL

  • Gold: First Light Foods, Hastings (Wagyu), processed at Greenlea Premier
  • Silver: AngusPure, Otorohanga (Angus), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Bronze: Westmeat Blenheim (Hereford Prime, Canterbury Angus), Blenheim (Angus), processed at CMP Kokiri

CLASS 8: BEST OF BRAND – WHOLESALE & FOODSERVICE

  • Gold: AngusPure, Te Aroha (Angus), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Silver: AngusPure, Otorohanga (Angus), processed at Wilson Hellaby
  • Bronze: Cabernet Foods (Everton Dry Aged Beef), Carterton (Hereford), processed at
    Cabernet Foods

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