Steak Umm?? by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Entertaining TV shows and features on food are everywhere you look. On cable you have The Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Network TV airs shows like Food Fighters or The Mind of a Chef. Even You Tube stars have featured bite-sized food topics to great acclaim with Epic Meal Time and Oreo Oration. Given all this competition, a documentary feature film on food has to be pretty damn compelling to even compete. Steak (R)evolution provides a broad survey of how steak is prepared in a number of different countries and how France is changing its view of what makes a proper steak. This is an interesting, if massive, topic. Too bad the whole enterprise comes off as little more than academic at best.
I came out of Steak (R)evolution learning a lot, but not caring all that much. The Argentinians coat their steak with a fine film of table salt on each side before tossing it on the grill. A Japanese farmer massages his cows with sake while playing the greatest hits of Mozart. Americans tend to favor beef with a higher fat content while Europeans favor beef with a tougher texture. The “evolution” part of the Steak (R)evolution title refers to educating Europeans about enjoying a fattier cut to keep up to date with the rest of the world’s standards. A French restaurant on display brags of serving a side of beef from a four-year-old cow while most restaurants would be hesitant to serve beef from a cow much greater than one year of age.
There’s plenty of interesting factoids to be learned from Steak (R)evolution, but the breadth of the topic at hand is too broad to provide any meaningful conclusion. Japanese, American, and Swedish wagyu might all have different standards, but little difference is gleaned other than their “melt in your mouth” quality. The matter of fact presentation detracts from the topic at hand. A more engaging approach would have helped this documentary immensely. Steak fans will have plenty of fat to chew on with Steak (R)evolution. Proceed at your own risk.