High tea is being served in the lounge of At.Mosphere as I meet up with Chef Chris Graham to learn some more about Irish Beef and his induction into The Chef’s Irish Beef Club. Unfortunately I was unable to make the induction dinner, so Chef has agreed to cook one of the signature dishes from the menu for me and to tell me more about his love for Irish Beef. It’s an offer I can’t turn down, after all, who wouldn’t love to spend time behind the scenes, with a private beef masterclass, in the highest kitchen in the world! On the menu – Beef Tenderloin.
Into the Kitchen
Dry Aged Tenderloin – Tongue & Tail | Watercress | Barola Vinegar
Dry Aged Tenderloin – Tongue & Tail | Watercress | Barola Vinegar as it’s called on the menu turns out to be a 21 day dry aged, grass fed piece of succulent beef tenderloin.
Cooked as follows :
- First wrap the tenderloin in clingfilm and cook on a low heat in an oven for approx. 30 minutes
- Remove the clingfilm and sear in a very hot pan with some oil
- Add lots of butter, a few smashed cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary and keep the beef moving in the pan and keep on spooning the butter over it until it is sealed lightly and has an even colour on all surfaces – this takes a couple of minutes or so.
- Take the beef from the pan and spoon over the butter, rosemary and garlic from the pan. Rest for the same amount of time as you have cooked it in the pan.
- Because the beef has been pre cooked in the oven, texture wise it feels rare to touch and should be cooked evenly all the way through – so it’s tricky to know if it’s cooked medium rare, or medium.
- If you need to know, you can check the internal temperature with a thermometer – 54C for Medium rare and 58C for medium.
- Remove the string from around the beef and slice.
- Plating Up :
Plating Up :
The At.Mosphere dry aged tenderloin is served with :
- Balsamic Drizzle, Onion Puree, Leek Ash
- Braised Savoy cabbage with diced beef tongue
- Potato glazed with veal jus
- Red onion marmalade, Garlic chip
- Oxtail with a watercress crust
- A rich beef Jus
Et voila! Lunch was served and really tasty it was too!
(Ps … If I was cooking this at home, I suspect I would serve it with a heap of buttery mash and some steamed veggies).
I asked Chris more about why he had been selected to be a member of The Chef’s Irish Beef Club and he explained that he is a keen advocate of Irish produce. “It’s about wanting to have the very best produce on the menu which not only tastes great but is also consistent in quality. Most importantly, is that I have to use beef that my guests enjoy”, and, he says, “I’ve only ever had compliments about it, never had any complaints.”
The majority of the beef on the menu is Irish beef*. The Irish Beef is from John Stone, a business known for supplying a range of the finest dry aged, grass fed Irish beef and lamb which has been sustainably farmed and hand selected. Chris uses beef which is Dry aged for 21 days, which he says is the perfect amount of time to deliver on both taste and flavor at an affordable price.
* Aside from the Irish Beef, Chris has two dishes on the menu with are made using grade 11+ Wagyu. Wagyu is on the menu for it’s rich, fattier taste which suits two of the dishes on the menu, as well as meeting customer requests.
Some of the technical stuff :
Dry aging beef, which essentially removes moisture from the meat, adds a more contentrated flavor and richness to the meat as well as making it more tender. It also makes it more expensive to buy as approximately 20% of the weight is lost as it dries.
Grass fed beef has a distinctive flavor compared to grain fed beef and the meat produced has a range of health benefits including the fact that it is lower in fat and has higher levels of nutrients and vitamins which can be attributed from it’s feed.
Wagyu Grades The grade relates to the level of fat marbeling in the beef. A higher the number, signifies a richer, more tender, and soft steak. Grade 11 will have a softness approaching stick-of-butter levels producing a succulent and juicy steak.
RAPID FIRE CHEF SUGGESTIONS
I asked Chef which beef suits, different dishes and/or moods and here are the ‘rapid fire’ responses based on the current menu;
In the mood for ~ Chef suggests
- Tender & Juicy ~ Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin – Tongue & Tail | Watercress | Barolo Vinegar
- Burger ~ Billionaire Burger – 11+ Wagyu | Truffle | For Gras (Lounge)
- Bit of Fat ~ 11+ Japanese Wagyu Sirloin, Smoked Pomme Puree | Asparagus | Black Truffle
- Something Spicy ~ Beef Rendang Skewer | Mango Salad | Warm Paratha
- Slow Cooked ~ 200 Day Grain Fed, Flat Iron – Tongue Ravioli | Smoked Potato | Hispi Cabbage
- Sharing ~ Home Smoked F1 Short Rib Tacos
- Quirky – Smoked Mash Potato | Bone Marrow Butter | Sticky Gravy
Enjoying the fruits of Chefs’ labour …
I eat my late lunch slowly, appreciating the different processes and techniques used in cooking all of the components in the dish, and relishing on the tender and tasty tenderloin. Mine was a little more medium than I, or Chef would have liked, but blame that on me as I asked a lot of questions whilst filming the cooking process and chatting.
I leave At.Mosphere feeling much more knowledgeable on what to order from the At.Mosphere menu on my next visit and with a greater appreciation of why different types of beef work for different dishes. I’m also keen to head to the supermarket and find some John Stone beef to experiment at home!
Thanks to Chef Chris Graham, now a member of The Chef’s Irish Beef Club, and the At.mosphere team for cooking for me in the middle of a busy service and for a fabulous cup of coffee as we chatted.
The Chefs’ Irish Beef Club is an exclusive international forum which brings together some of Europe’s leading chefs who give pride of place to Irish beef in their restaurants. Members of The Chef’s Irish Beef Club promote prime Irish beef in some of the most exclusive restaurants. Chris was welcomed to the club at a VIP dinner organised by Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board).
“The quality of Irish beef is world renowned, we have seen an increasing demand from Executive Chefs who want to serve only the highest quality beef in their establishments” ~ Michael Hussey, Bord Bia’s Middle East Regional Market Director
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Chef Chris Graham and the team preparing dinner for the Bord Bia dinner.
Being welcomed to The Chefs Irish Beef Club
Beef Tenderloin prepared for Bord Bia dinner
The same dish prepared during my masterclass