Cycle 3 – Item 180
3 (Tue) July 2012
Biftek Sauté with Champignons à la Bordelaise
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
In the latest installment of Master Chef Korea (Episode 10), the elimination challenge had the contestants cooking t-bone steaks to exact medium doneness. Like the three previous elimination challenges that I described in a prior post (see 3.169 Pizza Insalata), it was merely a test of technical skill; the contestants didn’t produce actual dishes with the steaks, and the judges didn’t bother to taste them. The program should be called Master SOUS Chef of Korea.
Here’s how I’ve always categorized the doneness of steak, which I think is pretty universal:
- Rare = all red/blue
- Medium rare = red center and pink edges
- Medium = all pink
- Medium well = pink center and brown edges
- Well = all brown
From what I could see on the screen, however, the judges seemed to have a slightly shifted standard, wherein medium included a red center. The one non-Korean contestant on the program, an Australian who claimed confidence in the challenge based on a lifetime of cooking steaks, cooked his t-bone to a perfect all-pink interior – what I would consider medium – which the judges deemed medium well, resulting in his elimination.
Come to think of it, why would they test on medium? Who orders medium? I would think that medium rare would be the critical point to test.
Anyway, seeing as how the program has been biting off GMTD for ideas, I decided to turn the tables and attempt to cook my own steak to their exact specifications. I couldn’t get a t-bone, the cut being extremely difficult to find through standard channels in Korea – by coincidence, one year ago to the day, I had a t-bone steak for dinner at a restaurant (see 2.180 T-Bone Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy) – so I went with a sirloin strip. This rendered the task half as easy, as the tricky thing about a t-bone is that it features a portion of ribeye on one side and tenderloin on the other, the former taking longer to cook than the latter, thus requiring skill to get them both the same. However, to increase the level of difficulty, I did request the butcher for a hefty 4-cm cut.
After 4 minutes on each side in a cast iron pan, followed by another 6 minutes in the oven on full whack, I had achieved a perfect “medium” according to the judges on Master Chef Korea.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)