High Steaks

Appears in the January 2024 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

FoxFire wins top honors

A cooking steak

Chef C.K. Gulbro insists that it was love at first sight. Just like the Looney Tunes cartoons. His jaw dropped. His tongue waged. And his eyes—both of them—popped straight out of their sockets, morphing into bright pink hearts.

The first time Gulbro fired up a marbled hunk of Certified Angus Beef at his FoxFire steakhouse (17 W. State St.) in Geneva, he realized this was what he’d been missing his entire life. The good stuff. Sometimes, he says, you just know when you’ve found it.

These days, that’s pretty much all he serves at FoxFire. Doesn’t matter if you order a rib eye or a New York strip or filet, you’re getting Angus beef cooked the Gulbro way. His steaks are chilled to 40 degrees and showered with salt and pepper then fired on a gas grill and finished at 500 degrees in the oven. “The grill marks disappear,” Gulbro says, “everything caramelizes—what we call the Maillard reaction. You can hear the sizzle and taste the sweetness.”

If Gulbro sounds like a walking, talking pitchman for Certified Angus Beef, it’s because essentially that’s the role he’s accepted. Over the years, he proselytized about his favorite steak so passionately that representatives from Certified Angus Beef started inviting him to visit the ranchers who raise the beef and exchange cooking tips with other steakhouse owners. Then, in 2022, Certified Angus Beef officially made him a chef ambassador. Last year, as FoxFire celebrated its 20th anniversary, came the coup de grâce: Gulbro’s restaurant was named the organization’s 2023 steakhouse of the year.


Photo: K.C. Gulbro