One-MICHELIN-starred steakhouse restaurant CUT By Wolfgang Puck is famed for its extensive range of beef that ranges from the prized Kobe beef from Hyogo Prefecture to 300-day grain-fed Australian wagyu. Some of its more popular steaks include porterhouse, ribeye and filet mignon. However, CUT’s executive chef Greg Bess has decided to shine the spotlight on a secondary cut, short ribs.
While beef in Western restaurants is traditionally cooked with red wine sauce, Bess has decided to give it an Asian twist by cooking the meat with a flavorful tapestry of spices, such as cumin, coriander, fennel seed and saffron. Instead of typical condiments such as steak sauce and chimichurri, the Indian-spiced short ribs are accompanied with Bengali chutney, which is perfumed with spices such as nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, cumin and coriander and a velvety spiced pumpkin puree.
The braised beef short ribs are layered with flavours as they have been marinated with spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel seed and saffron, and cooked with a reduction made with vine tomatoes, onions and raisins before the beef is sous vided. For the Bengali chutney, it is typified by five spices — nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, cumin and coriander, while the spiced pumpkin puree has been reduced with coconut milk and some spices.
What was the inspiration for your dish?
This dish is a classic dish at CUT By Wolfgang Puck. When CUT opened in Beverly Hills in 2006, this dish was on a menu. The dish is not your typical braised meat dish as it contains a lot of spices and flavours — there’s a balance of sweet, savoury and earthy flavours, which makes the dish very Asian and unique. The flavours from the tomatoes, raisins and tamarind help to minimise some of the richness and heaviness of the beef.
How does this dish embody sustainability?
When you think of steakhouses, you think of porterhouse, ribeye and filet mignon. However, for this dish, I have chosen to use a beef cut that is not so common. I have also made a cracker from the beef tendon. The tendons are braised for a long time until they are extremely tender. Then, they are pressed together, frozen and dehydrated. The sheets puff up like crackers when they are fried. The veal demi-glace is made with veal bones and vegetable trimmings from carrots, onions and celery that are from our daily preparation work. Wolfgang Puck has always been a big supporter of local farms in California, so the kabocha squash is from one of the farms there.
Why is sustainability important to you?
Sustainable kitchen practices were something that I got exposed to from my first job in Spago in Beverly Hills. Wolfgang Puck would always come back from the farmers’ market with pallets of fresh vegetables. It was always a challenge to figure out how to create dishes that involve ingredients that are best in season from local growers. Each small farm has unique growing conditions which produces very significant or singular flavours in their produce. This inspires me to cook in unique ways.