Combustion @ Chesa Davos

I was sitting in a restaurant named Chesa (in Davos) and dreaming about the ultimate 900gram bone-in steak cooked “saignant”. So is it true the ultimate wow bone-in steak named is a Tomahawk? Yes after the Tomahawk axe. This steak is an on-the bone rib steak that is cut from the fore-rib with the entire rib bone kept. The long bone is french-trimmed and it leaves a long-lasting impression, if cooked correctly.

But when happens when a chef’s stove’s gas grill is combusting incorrectly? The answer is simple, you get “taste of gas” on the meat and in your mouth. Actually is wasn’t the propane gas that I tasted at Chesa, because it’s odorless and doesn’t actually taste like anything.

What you can taste is what you can smell, and that’s ethanethiol, an additive added to propane in order to give it an odor. Ethanethiol is highly volatile and will burn up with the propane when cooking and so usually won’t transfer to your food.

The gas taste at my Tomahawk at Chesa simply suggests incomplete combustion which is often either by the fuel air mixture settings being incorrect, or by having grease blocking the air intakes. This can be solved cleaning the burners completely, or fine tuning the adjustment points for air for a clear blue flame.

After asking to see the chef to explain the issues, and being told by our waiter Dario that he was coming, he never appeared. After waiting 20+ minutes the waiter (an accommodating young man) felt embarrassed, and could only apologize and sadly they will have a problem which could be have been easily resolved.

In the meantime they are destroying high-grade Jumi beef with low-grade poisoning and the chef’s decision not to come to the table will have double consequences; one, he will not be in a position to resolve this problem, and secondly the Tomahawk will continue to be well overcooked-see picture below.

Due to the fact that the meat was pre-sliced in the kitchen, and carried to the table on a plate and placed over a food warmer (bunsen type), it simply over cooks the meat. This type of service was done in the past at 5 star hotels and high-class restaurants when “trolley service” was popular, but the outcome is overcooked steak and certainly not “saignant”.


The hotel has two very nice restaurants with good atmosphere and is worthy of a visit.

Hotel Seehof Davos
Promenade 159
CH-7260 Davos Dorf-Switzerland
Tel.+41 81 417 94 44