Roast Beef Tenderloin, A Chef’s Thoughts



I really only did this blog post because I have to keep practicing photography not because I like eating tenderloin . I was stumped on how to write this blog post because I really do not care for beef tenderloin and after I finshed these pictures my wife  fed on this dish for 2 days but I could only bear one bite. Photographing meat is very difficult and I liked the challenge of trying to shoot beef. I have been working in steak houses for the past 20 years and if anyone loves meat it is me. However, I will tell you why I do not like beef tenderloin.

I once was working as a chef at Chops in Buckhead and happened to start a conversation with a cattleman from Texas. I felt compelled to ask him,  “What is your favorite cut of beef and why?” Of course his reply was the ribeye, which is full of marble, covered in fat that melts and adds such a terrific flavor. I would not go to any restaurant and order a filet and I am embarrassed when I go to private functions and the only three things that are on the menu are filet, chicken or salmon. Hate it.

I also worked for this crazy person in Birmingham that insisted the  servers not sell filets and actually tracked the amount they sold and reamed them for it. And I mean ream them in front of the whole staff. He said that filets have no flavor and that they are not memorable because of the lack of marble and flavor which I totaly agree with.

1.  Beef Tenderloin has no real flavor. Beef that is flavorful must have inner fat known as marble, that is what gives it flavor. No fat, no flavor. This is why I love pork belly and bacon so much. FAT!

2. Prime tenderloins are available but are you really going to pay that much for tenderloin that does not taste that much different than choice tenderloin?

3.  If you  go to a good steak house and order a filet and it is good and then you go to another good steak house and you order the filet  it most likely tasted exactly like the same as the other one (see below).

4.  A filet tastes pretty much the same wherever you go.

5.  The filet is a safe steak.

6.  The filet is tender.

7.  The filet taste like what you put on it.

8.  Searing a filet at high tempatures adds a little flavor but not enough.

9.  Do not butterfly a whole tenderloin and stuff it. By the time the center cooks  or is heated the tenderloin will be overcooked.

10. Do offer your guests plenty of Béarnaise to dip the tasteless beef tenderloin into.

11. Do roll your beef tenderloin or filet into freshly cracked peppercorns and sear in a hot pan; it adds flavor.

12.  Do make a peppercorn sauce by reducing peppercorns with red wine and then add a good beef or veal stock, reduce, add cream and brandy, season!

13.  Don’t go to a steak house and complain the filet has no flavor.

14.  If you go to a steak house and order a filet do ask the chef to top your filet with fresh jumbo lump crabmeat and Béarnaise, pay the extra price.

15.  If you go to a steak house and order a filet do have the kitchen cut it open in the center after it is cooked and fill it with some fried shrimp, grilled shrimp or even a nice  fresh soft shell crab that has been dipped in tempura batter and lightly fried, (yes add Béarnaise for flavor).

16.  Beef tenderloin or even cut filets are more expensive than the better tasting cuts. (i.e. Ribeye!)

17.  Wherever you shop for beef tenderloin it always looks the same, no matter where you shop.

18.  Do serve your tenderloin or filets with Tomatoes Provencal.

19.  Do use the leftovers to make a roast beef tenderloin sandwich with rocket (a peppery leaf also known as arugula), heirloom tomatoes, and dijon aioli on your favorite rustic bread.



20.  Do tie your tenderloin with butchers twine.


21. Do pick some fresh thyme from your garden.

22. Do season the tenderloin with freshly cracked pepper, kosher salt and the picked thyme.

23. Do sear your tenderloin in very hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil

24.  Do roast the tenderloin in a preheated 375 degree oven until the internal tempature reaches 105 degrees or 110 for medium rare to medium. Then let it rest for 10 minutes!

Do serve your roast beef tenderloin with Tomatoes Provencal.

There are 10 comments

  1. Lovely, these posts on the tenderloin, tomatoes, and what may be done with them. Thank you, especially in light of your distaste for the cut of meat. I’m fond of it as a change of pace because it can be so readily dressed up in a range of flavors, and because its leanness means my doctor doesn’t fuss as much when I enjoy it, as opposed to when I tear into the amazing flavorful ribeye.

  2. Nicely done! And believe you me, making meat look pretty for the camera is not an easy thing to do.

    1. Thank you Carolyn. One of my goals was to capture this tenderloin the best I could and am satisfied! thank you for the comments, they really mean a lot to me!!

  3. This tenderloin looks great. I love the flavor if garlic. How would some freshly minced garlic taste with this recipe?

  4. Can you please share your favorite Béarnaise sauce recipe?

  5. Trying this right now!!!!!

  6. Well, I’m one of those weirdos who love filet — it’s a texture thing. If a well-marbled ribeye had the same texture as a filet, I’d be totally sold! But really not here to talk about filet. I’m here to say thank you – we brought my son and in-laws to the restaurant on Thursday for a double-whammy: his high school graduation and his parents’ (our) 19th wedding anniversary. We had an absolutely amazing time. The food was, of course, spectacular. But the service was even more stellar than the food (and that is saying something; I would possibly lay down my life for your garlic spinach and lobster mac n cheese). Your hostess was utterly gracious, and our waiter was phenomenal. Everything we look for in a restaurant, and oh so rarely find. Thank you, Tom!

    1. I am so glad you had a great time!

  7. Chef Thomas,

    Thank you for your time last night answering our questions about the fabulous lobster mac-n-cheese. We enjoyed our meal and everyone’s hospitality was exceptional! I look forward to visiting again when I return to Atlanta.

    Your newest fan from Texas,


    1. Thank you so much Michelle! I am happy you had a great dinner and if you need help with the Mac and Cheese let me know

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