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.
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Barbecue beef bavette with roasted beetroot, capers, wilted endive and a shallot merlot vinegar jus.
300g beef bavette steak (eye fillet or sirloin also works well with this recipe)
1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
100ml merlot vinegar
8 tsp caster sugar
500ml beef jus (you can buy pre-made jus at your favourite food store, otherwise use 1 litre of good quality beef stock and simmer until it is reduced by half)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baby capers
1 endive or 1 silver beet leaf (or a combination of both)
2 tsp unsalted butter
Extra olive oil for cooking
1. Cook the shallots in a dash of olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the caster sugar and vinegar and reduce by half. Add in the beef jus and bring to the boil. Season and check the taste.
2. Place the beetroot in a bowl and coat with olive oil, season with salt then wrap in tin foil. Cook in the oven at 160C for 25 minutes or until soft, depending on the size of the beetroot. Cut into wedges to serve.
In a small pan, melt the butter and water together to make an emulsion. Add the capers and endive and silverbeet leaves. Cook until wilted or soft depending on your preference.
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.