October’s Featured Artisan is our fantastic local Wagyu beef supplier – Everything Wagu in Cohuna, Victoria!
We had a chat with founder Steve Grove, who runs the farm with wife Debbie and son David, and learnt there’s a lot more to Wagyu beef than just premium steaks!
How long has Everything Wagyu been operating?
Everything Wagyu is family owned and run and commenced in 2006 when we started breeding our first F1 Wagyu’s using Wagyu semen over Holstein cows. After a couple of years breeding up animals we sold our first Wagyu meat in June 2009. Since then we have continually increased our number of animals and customer base. Today we now deliver to 40 customers every week from Swan Hill to Melbourne. Our customers range from country cafes to 5 star steakhouses in Bendigo and Melbourne
How did Everything Wagyu get started? What was the inspiration?
Everything Wagyu started as a dream by owners Steve and Debbie Grove to one day farm and produce a food product of their own which they could market direct from their farm to the public. We were also looking for a farming system to transition to from milking cows.
What did you do previous to starting Everything Wagyu?
Prior to starting Everything Wagyu the Grove family owned and operated a highly productive irrigated dairy farm milking up to 500 cows for 29 years. This was an intensive operation requiring constant 7 days a week supervision and work from the family members involved.
Why Wagyu cattle?
Our dream was always to find a farming system we could run as a “paddock to plate” operation, and Wagyu cattle were selected after consideration of making cheese or ice cream.
We identified that changes to the irrigation industry would make it problematic to run an intensive dairy farm in the future. As a family we were looking for a change from milking cows to allow the next generation of our family to continue to be farmers. We also wanted to develop more control over the sale and pricing of the product we produced. Wagyu was only just becoming known to the general public and was a perfect fit for much of our existing infrastructure and had in our opinion a great future.
Is there a specific dish or way you would recommend to use your Wagyu beef, or other products?
The hardest question we are always asked is, “what is your best steak?” Well, “Best” is just so individual, I always reply they are all good – it’s a matter of your preferred type of steak. Personally I would choose a rib eye steak, but after a recent experience Wagyu tongue and Wagyu fat ice cream are right up there with the steaks.
What’s your number one tip for the ultimate steak experience?
In my experience the absolutely best way to have the ultimate steak eating experience is to always choose a Wagyu steak, season the steak then sear it on a very hot grill and then finish cooking it in an oven to your preferred level of ‘done-ness.’
Where would you take a visitor for an essential country food experience?
Absolutely and without a doubt, I always take visitors to a local county based eatery or farm that specialises in using and serving fresh produce from local producers. There are now many varied local food producers with high quality fresh produce that the choice is continually becoming wider and easier to experience.
If you could visit any city for a day’s eating and drinking experience, where would it be and why?
Melbourne is at the top of my list for the perfect eating and drinking experience. There is just so much choice; it’s hard to know where to begin, not to forget the coffee!
What other local artisans or producers do you admire? Why?
Paul Pitcher the owner and head chef at The Woodhouse Bendigo and Jeffry Lim head chef at Steer Dining Room South Yarra. Both these chefs are like artists the way they use, prepare and serve local produce, particularly our Wagyu, to perfection.
If you had to choose your last meal, what would it be?
My last meal would be an eight course degustation using our Wagyu meat including tongue and tail a rib eye steak and finishing with Wagyu fat caramel ice cream and Wagyu fat chocolates. Yumoo!!