Apr 09

Bringing a Texas-sized show to the table

All-around #aussome Aussie Beef Mate Nelson Millán recently gave our presence at Club & Resort Chef’s “Chef 2 Chef” conference a rock-star boost, leading a pre-conference workshop and serving up a few of the “wow factor” dishes in his repertoire. Aussie Wagyu Tomahawk hit with the flambadou? *a flambadou is a cast iron cone on a long stem made for basting meats over a fire! Wagyu brisket bacon? Yes please!  We caught up with chef to get some of the back story behind his presentation and the dishes he served up.


Tell me about your presentation at Chef 2 Chef, and what you hope the audience took away from it…it looked like a packed room!

In addition to talking about my experience in Australia, I wanted to share a technique we use at the club to maximize our yield and eliminate waste on a high value product like the tenderloin. Like a lot of clubs, the tenderloin is one of the most-ordered steaks on the menu, and everyone wants that perfect center cut. Which leaves us with two ends of the primal that are just as delicious but aren’t getting the love!

To solve this problem, we clean the tenderloin well, taking out any gristle you might find. Then we do a careful cut and tuck each end back under so the thickness is uniform, and seal it together with transglutaminase or “meat glue.” Wrapped super-tight in layers of plastic wrap with no air pockets, you get a perfect cylinder and end-to-end “center cut” steaks.

One of the showstopper dishes you served was the flambéed tomahawk - what’s the story there?

Especially in clubs like ours, but really anywhere in high-end foodservice these days, guests are looking for an experience beyond a plate of food. A table side preparation of a full Wagyu tomahawk from Australia, hung above the cutting board, lit with the pyrotechnics of a flambadou with butter or tallow definitely brings the show! Tallow gives it a bit of a char flavor that’s fantastic. Just the other day we sold 22 of them in one night; they can be contagious on the dining room floor.

The show is one thing, but it’s nothing without the quality backing it up. That’s what I love about the Aussie Wagyu - the grading is so reliable, I know the consistency and marbling will be on point every time. When you’re slicing steaks off the bone right in front of a guest, there’s nowhere to hide, that product has deliver!

I’ve been hearing that your discovery of the brisket bacon was near life-changing. What makes it such a memorable and craveable bite?

The Aussie master butcher Doug Piper was cooking them up one day on our trip in Queensland, just making breakfast sandwiches, and all the chefs were geeking out on the bacon. We couldn’t get enough! I had had something similar cooking in Dubai years ago - where there’s no pork, you make bacon with beef - and I got Doug’s recipe. I’ve been tinkering with it, and it’s just so good. The ground bay leaves are the secret I think - it’s an underground flavor you can’t quite place, but it takes it to another level. You can serve it just as is, hung up in pieces for guests to grab, or you can swap it into anything from a breakfast sandwich to a BLT, you name it.

We put the recipe here if anyone wants to give it a burl…rumor has it a lamb version might be in the works! We’ll stay tuned…

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