GQ Magazine - July 2000
Someday scientists will develop a deep-fried cheese snack that adds to your life, but for the moment let's celebrate Piedmontese beef. With lower cholesterol and less fat than skinless chicken, this wunder-steak is a godsend for the carnivore who is trying to keep his rump roast swimsuit-friendly.
"It has more flavor, without a fatty aftertaste," Baratta says of how it compares with other steak. Patio chefs, take note that the meat cooks 25 percent faster, thanks to a low fat content (five grams in an eight-ounce burger as opposed to twenty-two grams in a McDonald's Quarter Pounder). The chemical-free meat (marketed nationally as [Montana Range™ Certified Piedmontese Beef]) is just starting to appear in upscale markets, select restaurants, such as Celestino Italian Steak House in West Hollywood, and the Neiman Marcus catalog. If it takes off, can a Prada-Ruth's Chris merger be far behind? What's next? A hangover-free Chianti?
"I call them the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the bovines," quips Gene Baratta, this country's largest distributor of the lean, mean steak. Since his family has handled corn-fed midwestern beef in Detroit's Eastern Market for more than fifty years, the CEO of Fairway Packing Company can be excused for worrying that the beef's lack of marbling would translate to a lack of flavor. But that ended on a fateful day in 1998, after Baratta tasted it and subsequently made it his signature product.