If my steak is about 25mm (1 inch) thick, I now know that I would like it cooked for 2 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. Then rested for 5 minutes.
Leiths School of Food and Wine are a client of Special Design Studio. We design lots of things for them including their course booklets and advertising campaigns. So in order to get a real proper insight into how Leiths works and what the whole experience is about – I was invited to attend a course of my choice.
I would describe myself as ‘interested in cooking’, maybe quite not what is classified as a ‘cooking enthusiast’, but certainly I am interested in eating!
I knew what I wanted to do straight away – I chose How To Cook The Perfect Steak. I like steak. Very much. I have clear and fond memories of two particular steaks in my life.
My first great steak was when I was 18 years old. I was on holiday in Tenerife with three friends. A first real taste of freedom. A first real taste of steak. It was huge and covered in a pepper sauce. It was thrilling.
My second great steak was at All Bar One in the City of London. I was 25 and had only recently arrived in London and had only recently been paid. I met my friend Andrew Frost and spent 10 whole pounds on what I remember being a good steak. It wasn’t so much the steak that was great, it was what it represented. Freedom to choose and the ability to pay. My arrival in London required a steak.
So it was apt that 16 years later I return to London to actually – finally – learn how to cook one properly. I mean I have screwed up many steaks.
The class for the workshop gathered in Leiths Library and waited for the course leader. It was populated with more men than women. 10 men and 4 women I believe. I think this represents the fact that steak is probably more favoured by men than women!
The incredibly knowledgeable Chef, Mark Williams, lead the day and first up we looked at all the different steak cuts available. We then watched as Mark cooked a Sirloin 30 seconds each side and then showed us the results – blue. He then carried on using 30 second intervals to show how the steak cooks through until eventually it is well done.
We all then tried this with a Sirloin of our own and were able to find that sweet spot – where you find your perfectly cooked steak. Mine is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds each side – based on a 1 inch thick steak. You then rest it for about the same amount of time – 5 minutes.
We then found out how to make green pepper sauce, a bernaise and a chimmichurri, which is an Argentinian sauce with onion, garlic, parsley and chillies. Nice.
The workshop culminated as we all cooked another Sirloin to our liking and ate together. With accompanying triple cooked chips and a glass of wine. Mark Williams cooked additional steaks for us to try; Fillet, Rump, Kangaroo, Venison and Water Buffalo. The Buffalo was excellent.
The day gave me a great insight into Leiths. It was so well organised and executed. Kind of like being in what I imagine to be a professional kitchen. You had supporting staff at hand while you concentrated on the cooking. A well oiled machine.
I look forward to using my new skills.