As a young chef, fulfilling my dream of visiting Paris was an absolute must. It was something I had wanted to do since I first started working in a kitchen and began reading cookbooks by inspirational chefs.
After two years of working in underground London kitchens, I finally had enough money and some time off to visit Paris.
I was 25, alone and ready to eat. Paris was so busy – a real culture shock for a young Kiwi. I discovered lots of little bistro restaurants hidden away down sidestreets. The cafes and bars were bustling with customers pouring out into the streets. They were hole-in-the-wall sized restaurants with ladders up to a second dining room level and menus handwritten daily on the wall, involving whatever the chef could buy from the local market or corner butcher.
I will never forget my very first meal in France. It was a beautifully caramelised beef bavette with roasted beetroot, capers, wilted endive and a shallot merlot vinegar jus. I asked for a glass of matching wine and they gave me half a bottle of French red and bread - a lot of bread. It was the perfect lunch.
This experience became my inspiration and the philosophy for my own restaurant, Phil's Kitchen. It's all about creating the same experience for diners back in New Zealand.
Bring a metal barbecue hotplate up to heat until it's nice and smoking, or bring a frying pan to a high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the bavette until it's nice and caramelised on the outside, then finish in the oven at 85C until the internal temperature is 53C or cooked through to your liking. Season the bavette with flaky salt and rest for 15 minutes before cutting into portions.
Serve the beef with the wedges of roasted beetroot and wilted endive and drizzle with the jus.