With a new venue, The Magic Roundabout in London, and an early summer date (4 July), this year’s competition looks to be bigger and better than ever, with head judge Marco Peerdeman inviting entries from around the world.
Dutch-born Peerdeman is one of the most prolific butchers in the UK and, as well as sales manager at GVFI Europe, is a butchery and meat consultant at Orange Butcher Ltd.
This year’s World Steak Challenge sees the introduction of new categories, with Best Rib Eye and Best Fillet to be awarded as well as Best Sirloin. Peerdeman said that rib eye in particular could be the category to watch.
“Rib eye I think will change things and maybe challenge for the overall best steak as it tends to have more marbling and better flavor than a NY strip so could be interesting. However it will be judged by quality, not personal preferences.”
So, what will judges be looking for in this year’s World Steak Challenge? “I like to see a nicely butchered and trimmed steak. Not overly trimmed, so the chain needs to be on a striploin steak, removal of the thicker part of the back strap and a nice even distribution of the back fat.”
World Steak Challenge: a ‘great tool’
This is the third year of the World Steak Challenge, with the first two competitions won by Australian producer Jack’s Creek. Its Wagyu F2+ wowed judges both years, including Peerdeman.
“That steak is the best of both worlds - the goodness and beefy flavor of the Angus influence and the rich, buttery flavor of the Wagyu. The first year we had it on our table and it stood out straight away.”
Having won World Steak Challenge two years in a row, Jack’s Creek and Albers Gmbh have seen massive benefits of their success. Peerdeman explains how it can help a business.
“I think it is a great tool to compare yourselves against the ‘competition’ or just similar producers. And of course there is the eternal fame of winning!”
While the competition will be judged by an international panel of experts, Peerdeman said his own attitude to steak had evolved over the years. “I do prefer slightly marbled, grass fed beef. Nicely aged for 35-50 days for that bit more earthy, deeper flavor. Although lately I have been fortunate to taste a bit more F1 Wagyu beef and love the mixture of the beefyness of the Angus influence and the richness of the Wagyu, the best of both worlds! And you still can’t beat a nice onglet, a slap of Bavette, a good rump steak and of course, a flat iron steak. I love ‘em all really.”
And finally, how does the head judge of World Steak Challenge 2017 like his steak done?
“It’s got to be medium rare! Only salt with the cooking and then pepper afterwards. Nicely rested, job done.”
If you’ve got a steak that you think could be the best in the world, enter this year’s competition here.