Chef Wolfgang Puck caters the Academy Awards, and one of his signature offerings is Miyazaki beef. This is the finest beef in the world, and I am wondering if anybody knows what company Chef Puck sources it from.
I highly doubt Chef Wolfgang Puck gets his Wagyu from Costco. No knock on Costco because they do deliver great value to ordinary people like myself, but I am sure he gets his direct from a Japanese company that is second to none in quality. Keep in mind, this chef owns one of the three Michelin star steakhouses in the USA.
Wherever Wolfgang gets it, I don't know. But Costco is cheaper if you can get it from there. I paid $190/lb last year. The quality is top notch. This one is Kagoshima. They don't butcher it themselves. Comes vacuum sealed. Or you can buy a whole loin and butcher it yourself. (the picture is not how it comes. It comes fat and all)
I don't wish to be the bearer of bad tidings, but, the Wagyu purchased at Costco is not imported from Japan. Its actually produced right here in the good ol' US of A.
The information contained on the label is cleverly worded as to avoid US false advertising laws. What's missing is the country of origin information. Under 19 USC, §1304, all goods entering the US for sale must contain country of origin information, unless otherwise excepted. Perishable food items such as meat, poultry and seafood cannot be excepted.
Take a look at the packaging the Costco Wagyu came in. If it was actually imported from Japan, and thereby phsycially produced in Japan, the words "Product of Japan" or something similar with the same meaning, will appear somewhere on the packaging. If not, it was produced here in the US.
Here is the description of a Wagyu Boneless Ribeye from Costco as written on Costco's website:
The description says "Imported from the Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan." But, note the order of the information. The first line says "Japanese WagyuBeef." The second line says "Imported from the Kagoshima prefecture in Japan." Neither of these statements are false. The beef is 100% pure Japanese Wagyu. The breed of Japanese cattle did, in fact, come from Japan and was imported to the US at some point. But, the third line is the key. It says "Procured by Authentic Wagyu, LLC". This is a Wagyubeef producer located in Enumclaw, Washington State. They grow 100% pure Wagyu cattle right here in the US and follow the strict Japanese requirements for Wagyu cattle production and husbandry. So, the advertising is not false. It leaves, however, the assumption that the meat was physically produced in Japan and imported to the US up to the buyer, but, provides enough truthful information to avoid legal entanglements under US Law.
Costco has an deal with Authentic Wagyu, LLC (and other US Wagyu producers depending on location of the Costco) to sell Wagyubeef and all that Wagyu is produced right here in the US. These facts are confirmed on "Authentic Wagyu's" website.
Here's the link to the Authentic Wagyu, LLC website. Read the "about us" section.
DISCLAIMER: This does not mean the Wagyu sold at Costco is not good. However, the shell game in advertising, especially when it comes to authentic and hard to get food items, has always been a pet peeve of mine. Even though the advertising that surrounds the Wagyu at Costco is legally sound, there is a certain amount of deception involved that I do not like. Customers are paying the insane prices for the Wagyu at Costco with the assumption that what they are buying was grown and produced in Japan, when, in fact, it was not. I think this creates an ethical problem.
I think Costco has everything to gain by allowing their customers to falsely believe the Wagyu is actually from Japan and not a farm in Washington State (or the US in general). This begs the rhetorical question: Would Costco customers pay those prices for Wagyu if they knew it was grown in the US, not Japan?
Again, its not my intent to ruffle feathers or pi$$ on anyone's parade.