For Francis, all creation begins with research. Before having fun playing with flavors, he always makes sure to follow the classic recipe to the letter. Francis then spent an entire week reading about the dish and listening to tutorials, until he came across a video of legendary chef Gordon Ramsay, the undeniable master of this complex dish.
It is therefore armed with a host of instructions for the perfect Wellington (and a few British swear words as a bonus) that Francis embarks on a process that will take him six hours.
Once the meat is prepared, the white ham rolled up, the duxelle carefully chopped and the pastry decorated, the Wellington spends a while in the oven before taking it out; true work of art. Bloody Hell! One step was omitted: the sides of the beef tenderloin weren't seared—so the cooking is somewhat uneven, though the end result is still delicious.
Accompanied by mashed parsnips, wilted spinach and a chicory salad, the Wellington is a unanimous hit with the guests.
Years (and many Wellingtons later) you'll find in the Extra Menu version an addition of duxelle stuffing–to firm it up and give it more malleability. We also brine our meat tenderloin in a marinade of water and salt to season it and make it easier to cook.
Today, when we ask Francis for his tips for a successful Wellington, he looks like a construction guy and explains that "it's like building a house: the clay is used as coating, the duxelle as insulation and the foundation ham.” Adding that the important thing is “that the beef is as comfortable as possible.”