< by Blair Voorend>

A small Hawke's Bay meat producer has been voted the best in the world by Forbes.

First Light's Wagyu Beef has been praised as "producing the best beef in the world" in a recent Forbes article by food and travel writer Katie Chang.

One of the company's founding members, Jason Ross, was left dumbfounded by the praise from Chang.


"We were quite taken aback by someone like Forbes wanting to do a story on us, but we couldn't believe the praise that we got from her," Ross said.

"She was your typical hard-arse New Yorker, wanting to find some dark dirty secret we have to hide. That's why I think she wrote such a nice article because she couldn't find anything wrong with what we do here."

Forbes is a mega publication with more than 30 million subscribers and more than 70 million visitors to their website every month.

The discovery made by Forbes was quite the coincidence, according to Ross.

"There was a guy in the States who opened a restaurant and tried all sorts of products of prime beef from all sorts of companies to sell, then one day we got a call from him and he said what he was doing and that he will only open the restaurant if he could use our meat," Ross said.

"That's where Katie tried our meat for the first time and that led to this article."

Ross believes this will have huge implications for their profile in the United States, which is their biggest market and is also great news for the NZ beef and lamb industry in general.

"We're incredibly proud of what we have done here but the only people probably more prouder than us are the farmers who provide us with the meat," Ross said.


Founded in 2003 by Gerard Hickey, Jason Ross, and Greg Evans, the New Zealand-based company specialised in grass-fed Wagyu and venison, with sale offices in NZ, USA, UK, France and the UAE.

Taste test

If you haven't tried Wagyu beef before there's only one real option, First Light.

Although it is voted by Forbes as "the best beef in the world" nothing will prepare you for the gorgeous smoky and nutty flavour the meat produces.

Massage the meat with salt and it will give you a crispy, juicy, caramel crunch as you take your first bite; it's enough to make any vegetarian or even vegan devour an entire steak.

The pick of choice would have to be the low marble scour, serve that with a nice glass of pinot noir and your taste buds will be in heaven.

Although the meat might seem pricey at about $20 a steak, trust me it is worth very cent.