Tokyo Table

Culinary Adventures at Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo

Simply Delicious

When most people think of French cuisine, they imagine gilded restaurants:

Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Paris

Or maybe Cuisine Nouvelle on all white plates and very little food:

Cuisine Nouvelle

Or perhaps culinary wonders from the world of molecular gastronomy that take hours to prepare however the plate looks a bit like a science experiment:

Molecular Gastronomy – Alinea in Chicago

Sure this is part of French cuisine, and fun to try.  But I’m proud to share that French cuisine is much, much, more.  Today’s dish is timeless, simple, filling and delicious.  It’s BBQ Steak!

Many times I associate BBQ with American or Australian cuisine.  Both of these countries certainly have the weather for year-round BBQs, but the simple grilled steak is straight out of ancient French cookbooks.  And today I learned that it’s easy enough to do, but there are a few secrets.  The first is essential: the quality of the meat.   A piece that is tender and not too fatty is perfect for the BBQ.  

Today I will be preparing a beef fillet.

Raw beef fillet

Next, Chef trims the fat from the fillet leaving a beautiful, lean steak.  The next step I learned is also very important: leave it to chambre, or come to room temperature before cooking.  

The final preparation is to tie the steak so that it will keep it  s shape while cooking.

Tied raw steak.

Chef says that when the grill is hot (or I can even use a pan at home) add a generous amount of seasoning to the steak (12g of salt per kilo and 2g of pepper), and coat lightly with olive oil.  And now it’s time to grill.   After 90 seconds on each side, he places it in the oven for two minutes on each side.  The final step letting it rest for at least the same amount of time it cooked in the oven, to let the juices flow throughout the meat.  After this, Chef cuts into his steak and voila! Perfect steakhouse steak. 

Now it’s my turn.  Remembering the fish debacle from yesterday, I’m a little suspicious about how easy this looks.  Can it just be a few simple steps?  I prepare my meat in the same manner: trimming, tying, chambre-ing and seasoning.  I prepare my grill  and begin.  Depending on the thickness of the steak, I’ll only need between one to two minutes per side on the grill and the same amount in the oven.  The difficult part is getting the feel for medium-rare and medium just by touching.  As I grill, I remember Chef’s words to make sure I grill the same amount of time per side for even cooking, and remember the edges too.  Finally, into the oven for a few minutes to finish, and let it rest for the same amount of time I cooked it in the oven. 

Now the moment of truth.  It feels properly cooked, but is it?  With trepidation I slice through my steak — Hurray!!  It’s cooked.  Now with more confidence I slice the remaining pieces for plating and walk confidently to Chef.  I have redeemed myself from yesterday.   Maybe I can’t present a beautiful trout (yet) but I can serve a simply delicious and appetizing steak! 

Chef Gilles’ steak

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