Photo and GIFs by Liz Barclay

Welcome back to the First We Feast GIF Tutorial series, where we ask restaurant pros to show us how step up our technique when cooking at home. This week, we tackle one of the most deceptively complex tasks in the kitchen: properly preparing a steak. Everyone’s got an opinion on the matter, and a Google search will leave you with about 3,451 ways to go about it. To set the record straight, we headed to Atera in Tribeca to get a masterclass from sous chef Zach Hunter.

For the uninitiated, Atera is not a place where you go to get a simple piece of grilled meat. Led by Portland import Matthew Lightner, the kitchen turns out one of the city’s most progressive tasting menus, deploying modernist techniques like sous-vide to create dishes like sunflower toffee manipulated to look like a peach pit, and beets blackened with hay ash to look like an ember. But Hunter couldn’t start playing with these avant-garde sleights of hand before mastering the basics. After graduating from the Arizona Culinary Institute, he worked at Wildfish Seafood Grille in Scottsdale, then worked his way through the kitchen world to end up at the celebrated Mugaritz in Errenteria, Spain. Along the way, Hunter learned some tricks that we never got the memo about, but which are completely doable in your home kitchen. Suffice to say, he knows his way around a steak.

Check out the instructions below for cooking a medium-rare New York strip, then click through the gallery above to see Hunter demonstrate each step of the process.

6 Steps to Steak Perfection

1) Preheat oven to 350°F and place a cast-iron pan or griddle on high heat.

2) Coat pan with olive oil, then press the fatty side of the steak into the pan to coat it with fat. (If it doesn’t have the fat attached, skip this step.)

3) Place the steak in the pan, then press down gently with a meat press. Wait one minute, then flip and repeat for another minute.

4) Move the steak to the oven. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

5) Move steak onto a cutting board or other cool surface and let rest for about 10 minutes. Season with coarse sea salt and slice into strips about an inch wide.

6) Garnish with edible flowers and foraged herbs if you want to impress someone, or simply devour on the couch in your underpants.

(Photo: Liz Barclay)

Photo: Liz Barclay