Even though our grills might be covered for the season, we can still make mouth-watering, perfectly cooked and seasoned steaks indoors.

I first learned to properly cook a steak when cooking at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago under the tutelage of chef Graham Elliot. We were a small team of four cooks working five nights a week in the hotel’s fine dining restaurant inside the workings of a large hotel kitchen. Our open kitchen was small, with a dining bar allowing guests a front-row seat to watch us cook. We each worked a station on our own (garde-manger, hot apps, butcher and saucier) for three months, after which time we would rotate around to another station.

When working as the butcher, not only was it our responsibility to break down fish and other cuts of meat on the menu, during service we cooked every piece of meat that left the kitchen, from three-course to 21-course tasting menus per guest. To get the job done, we had a four-burner gas range and a small convection oven, which we kept at 500 degrees the entire night. There was no grill or wood-burning oven, but I soon learned that all I needed was right in front of me: a large soup spoon (never tongs), a few well-seasoned cast-iron pans, salt, my trusty pepper grinder, a high smoke point oil, butter and aromatics.


A good sear along with butter and aromatics make for a great steak.