Meet the growers: Capella beef

What does it take to get your produce into the MasterChef kitchen? We spoke to some farmers who grow the beef you see at Coles and on MasterChef Australia. Plus, check out a delicious recipe from one of our favourite former contestants.

Philip and Deborah Reid

Much like the friendly rivalry between MasterChef Australia contestants, Philip and Deborah Reid agree a bit of healthy competition can be a good thing. “We’re constantly benchmarked against other producers,” Philip says. “When you know you’re getting it right, you feel very proud.”

Coles standards include the type and weight of cattle, but also the conditions under which they’re raised. “We need to have very good systems,” Philip says. “As a result, I don’t think you could get better beef than what we supply to Coles.”

The Reids own Paringa Feedlot at Capella, 90 kilometres north of Emerald in the Central Highlands region of Queensland. Their business employs 13 workers and each week they send about 200 grain-fed cattle to Coles. Every time the trucks roll out of the yards, Philip says he feels great pride in what his team has achieved. “Getting that quality week in and week out doesn’t just happen,” he says. “Everyone who works with us really enjoys their job. Their level of care is what makes our product so much better.”

If contestants – or home cooks – are looking for a crowd-pleasing dish, Deborah says marinated steak is always a winner. Her honey-soy steaks, using honey, soy sauce and barbecue sauce, are a big hit at barbecues. When it comes to freezing meat, Deborah has one golden rule: “My father was a butcher and he always said it’s important to freeze meat flat,” she says. “That way it defrosts quickly and more evenly.”

Michael Weldon’s pulled beef tacos 

These pulled beef tacos are tender and full of flavour. They’ll be a hit at the dinner table.