If anybody knows a good piece of steak, it is Aitor Jeronimo Orive, head chef of one MICHELIN star restaurant Basque Kitchen by Aitor in Singapore. Born in Madrid and raised in Australia, the chef counts Basque Country, where his grandparents are from, as his cultural homeland. For him, no trip to Basque country is complete without a feast at an asador, a traditional establishment that specialises in grilled food, where hearty slabs of Basque steaks called txuleta are his must-orders.
His love for a good grill is reflected on Basque Kitchen’s menu, where a signature item is a classic Basque txuleton, a very thick cut bone-in rib steak cooked expertly on a commercial hybrid charcoal grill-oven. “What we look for when grilling steak in the restaurant is a nice char on the outside and rareness on the inside,” he explains. “In order to achieve that, you need direct contact at a very high temperature.”
Short of outfitting your home with a barbecue, it is almost impossible to recreate restaurant quality results at home. Enter the Teka SteakMaster, a multifunctional oven for the domestic market, designed to reach a temperature of up to 700°C—putting it in the same league as a professional barbecue.
“When I first heard about the SteakMaster by Teka, I didn’t think that the results we look for in the restaurant could be achieved in a home oven,” admits the chef. “But I was surprised, absolutely.”
With up to 20 pre-programmed recipes that guide home cooks in temperature and cooking time depending on the type of meat, cut and finish, the SteakMaster takes out all the guesswork of achieving the perfect cook on any proteins from txuleta and chateaubriand to tuna takaki and duck magret.
With his experience in cooking meat and oven control, the chef has decided to grill his steak on manual mode which allows users to vary the cooking parameters to their liking. “Today we are using old cow from Australia, which has great depth of flavour, but you can use other types of beef like Wagyu or Angus,” he says. Simply seasoned with sea salt, the one-and-a-half inch-thick slab of meat on bone is placed into the pre-heated SteakMaster oven which has reached sizzling temperatures in a short time.
The two-level cast iron grill ensures direct contact with the meat for a charred, crisp crust and juicy, perfectly done meat in just a few minutes on each side. The result: a deep, robust char with attractive grill marks, the steak tender and rare on the inside with beautifully rendered fat—just like at a restaurant.
To show off the versatility of the SteakMaster oven, the chef also whipped up his popular Basque burnt cheesecake. Combining cream cheese, funky Idiazabal sheep cheese, eggs, cream and flour, the batter is poured into a cake tin and popped into the multifunctional oven at 180°C for 40 minutes. SurroundTemp technology guarantees an even distribution of the heat, producing a beautifully browned cake with a custardy set.
“Here we have a traditional, hearty Basque meal all done all in the comfort of your own house,” says the satisfied chef.