987 easy and fully explained recipes, with 12,014 photos and 77 videos

The blog of

Well-cooked meat

14,731 13.5/5

Grade this page :

Last modified on: May 21th 2011

Well-cooked meat

well done cooked meat

Have you ever noticed that if you like your meat well done, it invites strange looks? For instance, in a restaurant, when asked “How would you like that cooked?” If you reply, “Well done,” it is almost as if you are swearing…

Yes, it's true that this might apply less to chains of grill restaurants, but in a traditional French restaurant it happens to me fairly often: he raises an eyebrow with a slightly haughty look and asks, “Well done, well done?” or maybe “Are you sure, sir? It is quality meat,” which is a charming way of telling you: “As you appear to be a cro-magnon who is in the wrong era, or at any rate an oaf with no taste, I warn you it'll be like shoe leather.”

Of course, it's very tempting to reply curtly at that point, “Well done, which means done well, cooked just right!”, but be reasonable, don't go off on the offensive, develop this a little:

My dear sir, it so happens that I prefer my meat well cooked, and I consider that it has a far better flavour (which I enjoy very much) and this – as you should know – is due to Maillard reactions (who is neither a footballer, nor a reality TV personality, but a famous French chemist of the 19th century). He brought to light the complex physiochemical reactions which take place during the cooking process and which produce such delicious aromas and tastes.

You will already know, I am sure, that in North America they have a grade of cooking which goes beyond what any French cook would consider “well done”, known as “Chicago”. Between you and me, I agree that it's a little excessive, yet they probably serve the best steaks in the world, and over there, even in the most basic diner you can eat a perfectly-cooked piece of meat with both taste and tenderness to knock you off your feet.

You are no doubt going to object that “well done meat is tough”, and to that I would reply: not at all! My dear sir, you are looking at the issue the wrong way round: if to be tender your meat needs to be half raw, then your butcher is a rogue and is selling you old tyres in place of meat. Either that, or your chef is an ass who hasn't got a clue how to choose meat. If that is the case, and you are the boss, if I were you, I would sack both of them.

If not, I will have: baked potatoes and Béarnaise sauce to go with my well done meat, and for dessert, a crème brulée, thank you.

Back to top of page

Lasts posts

The 3 essential knives The 3 essential knives

You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This is very true, of course, but for any amateur or beginner it is equipment that really counts to start with. What I mean is that you should not skimp on [Read more...]

Using stretch food film effectively Using stretch food film effectively

Maybe you use food film in your own kitchen. You know, the very thin, clear plastic stuff that you can stretch, often used to cover food and protect it from the air. It’s become so widely used that it’s now an essential item for pros. They even [Read more...]

The mock CAP baker's certificate exam The mock CAP baker's certificate exam

The next instalment in my life as an apprentice baker at the French INBP professional school. I’m now halfway through training and it’s still as exciting as ever, and exhausting – but maybe I’m just getting old, or both… Anyway, a few days [Read more...]

Rosemary in recipes Rosemary in recipes

Rosemary, as I’m sure you know, is a culinary herb: It is one of the famous French "herbes de Provence", and is very effective in bringing a real taste of the Mediterranean to any dish. The classic way to use it in a recipe is to add a [Read more...]

The Holy Grail of French bakers The Holy Grail of French bakers

While browsing through the recipes on this site, you may have noticed that while I adore cooking (everything, in fact, to do with eating and drinking), I am particularly drawn to bakery: bread, viennoiseries and all that goes with them – it’s a [Read more...]

Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks? Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?

Let’s try and answer a question that crops up in cookery and patisserie, even if it verges on the existential: do the egg yolks in a custard recipe really need to be beaten until pale, or not? You might already have noticed in many recipes [Read more...]

Egg yolks and caster sugar Egg yolks and caster sugar

We often come across recipes where we need to mix egg yolks with caster sugar. This would appear to be a very ordinary and simple thing to do but, be warned, these two ingredients can behave oddly together. Let’s take confectioner's custard [Read more...]

The golden-brown finish on puff pastry The golden-brown finish on puff pastry

Let's take a look at the tricky matter of producing puff pastry with an attractive, golden-brown finish. French pastry chefs call this "dorure" (literally, "gilding"). Behind this quirky term there lurks a real problem (and the solution): when [Read more...]

Other articles

visitors have also looked at

Fruits which can ruin your jelly
Fruits which can ruin your jelly
Raising (or leavening) agents
Raising (or leavening) agents
The power of sayings and beliefs in the kitchen
The power of sayings and beliefs in the kitchen
Aeroplane or take off the shirt
Aeroplane or take off the shirt
The art of the charlotte
The art of the charlotte

Your 1 comments or questions on this page

Post your comment or question

You are welcome, if you wish, to comment on this page: why you like it or not, what you have changed, what results it gave, point out a mistake or omission, etc. You can also ask a question. I answer all questions (in a broken English, sorry) unless someone else does it before me.
Please feel free to say what you think, I'm always very interested in your opinion. Your comment will appear on line with the page, so please write in standard readable English, not SIM or only in CAPITALS, otherwise your comment may be rejected.

Please look at advice for submitting a comment or image (what you should or should not do). By the way, don't type your e-mail address in the comment, otherwise you might be spammed.

I am not a leaving thing

Follow this page

If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your email with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page