Grilling God: Jeff Fitzgerald

May is Grilling Month at Food Republic, where we are offering pro tips from chefs and other well-known grilling gods.

Bay Area native Jeff Fitzgerald landed the job of his dreams in February when he was named Executive Chef of Dio Deka, a famed restaurant in Los Gatos, California that holds the distinction of being the only Greek restaurant in the U.S. to have been awarded a coveted Michelin star (It has received one each of the past three years).

The chef has been a part of the Dio Deka team since 2007, and strives to showcase California ingredients with traditional Hellenic dishes. True to the warm climates of both Greece and California, Fitzgerald spends a lot of his time firing up the outdoor grill. He reached out to us to share some of his finest grilling tips.

Do you prefer working with gas or charcoal?

Charcoal, but nothing beats the ease of being able to fire up the gas at 2 a.m. after I get home from work to cook a burger.

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?

Moving things around too often or early, especially fish.

What is your favorite cut of meat to grill?

Skirt steak.

What are the best vegetables on the grill?

Asparagus or romaine lettuce.

What's the best way to cook vegetables on the grill?

Salt and pepper, very little oil, very high heat.

What do you like to drink with your grilled meat?


What's the most epic barbecue you have ever thrown, or been to?

My coolest grilled meat experience was at a restaurant in Sydney called Porteno.

What bands are on your grilling soundtrack?

I'm the worst at choosing music. I let others handle that!

What is the worst food item you have seen thrown on the grill?

I saw some sort of fruit dessert pizza on a grill on some cooking show once. Ugh.

Most useful piece of grilling gear you have purchased or used?

I just got some new metal skewers that I'm pretty fond of.

Any burger secrets (Stuffed? Toppings?)

I'm a purist when it comes to toppings, so definitely no stuffing. The bun is super important to me, though. A bad bun can really ruin a great burger.

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