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Healthy Cooking Q & A - Chef Phillip Dell

Dear Chef Phillip, What is the best way to know how to grill a perfect burger? -Nikole from Missoula, MT

When you see the blood come to the surface of the meat, it is time to flip! The more blood at the surface, the more the meat has cooked all the way through. I personally like really juicy burgers, so when I just start to see the blood surface I flip it. I remove the burger from the heat just as the (already) cooked surface starts to show signs of moisture. Only flip the burger once. - Chef Phillip


I love pork, but I'm wondering if there is a shortcut or a different angle to make it a little healthier? - Josh from Hesperia, CA

If you're a fan of pulled pork, try using a pork roast instead of pork shoulder. It is much leaner and has fantastic flavor! It can be prepared in the same fashion as traditional pulled pork. I like to not only serve it pulled for sandwiches, tacos, or carnitas, but sliced as well served with a sauce. -Chef Phillip



I try to eat salads to get more veggies and stay healthy, but I hear that most of the dressings I like can cancel out some of the original 

benefits of the salad. Any suggestions? - Kelli from Twin Falls, ID

I often tell people to dip their forks into the dressing, then into the salad in order to help reduce calories. Drentching your salad IS NOT needed to achieve the flavor you want. Start with a small cup of dressing like this, and you'll be surprised at how little dressing you use by the time your salad is gone. -Phillip


Phillip, you lost over 90lbs by making lifestyle changes. How do you stay movitated after a setback? I do well for a while, then I tend to binge. I feel like I undo most of my progress! - Jillian from Boulder City, NV

Real lifestyle changes comes one bite at a time. Just keep working at it. It does take time. Something that has happened in the past is often why people go down an unhealthy path. Stay encouraged. With all that is going on, there are still so many things to be thankful for. Keep praying, keep everything out in front and NEVER look back! What has passed has passed there is only the future. Keep plugging, hold onto what you have and not what you don't or could have had. Stick to your beliefs, and PRAY! -Chef Phillip


chef dell

Does marinating meat actually tenderize it? I've never really understood how marinades affect the meat i'm cooking. - Kim from Key West, FL

Great question! People have this belief that marinating meat tenderizes it. In reality all marinating does is make the texture of the meat mushy as the proteins break down (as well as adds some flavor). This is very common when the marinade contains a lot of acid or vinegar. In the case of using kiwi or pineapple they do have tenderizing properties since they contain papain, a natural tenderizer. If used in too large a quantity or bathing in it for too long, will result in a mushy and less desirable texture. The "best" way to tenderize a tough cut of meat, is to cook it slowly, and/or with moisture such as braising, or use a meat tenderizer mallet (or just as your butcher to do that for you). -Chef Phillip


Chef Phillip Dell is proprietor of Sin City Chefs and he was a champion on Season 15 of "Chopped" on Food Network. He's worked at Wynn Las Vegas, Grand Traverse Resort, Benedicts in Las Vegas & many other restaurants. Connect with Phillip on 




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