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Chef Secrets

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Craving a nice, steak dinner but without the big price tag? We are going to help you make the perfect gourmet dinner at home with secrets from the chef.

Restaurant owner, Pedro Garcia grew up in the kitchen. Today he's sharing some of what he's learned over the years.

"I'm the chef, everything, I wear all the hats. Whatever needs to be done, I do it. That's my job," said Garcia.

"We are going to look at grilled meats, what to do with them to make them look pretty on the plate. How to get that beautiful, ready temperature on the meet. Also, some things you can do with vegetables to accompany those meats. The one thing you do not do, and I am totally against it is to marinate the beef tenderloin beforehand. That is a big no, no," said Garcia, "People tend to use things such as olive oil, mixed with wine, Worcestershire sauce, or different kinds of sauces. All of that is acidic and it eats into the meat. It starts cooking the meat before it's even hit the fire. The beef tenderloin is very tender. It's very lean so you want it to be as juicy as possible and these marinades kill the juices. Draws the juices out of the meat and dries it up ahead of time."

"Another thing I don't like to do is use too many herbs. It's too much. You don't know what you are tasting. What you want to taste is the beautiful natural flavors of the beef tenderloin. So just stick with salt and pepper you will be amazed at how beautiful, how delicious the tenderloin will come out," said Garcia.

He says always sear the meat in a pan with butter, salt and pepper before you grill it.

"The searing on the pan allows the one quarter inch of beef around the meat to cook ahead of time. So that when it does go on the grill, that one quarter inch cooked meat on the surface will protect the interior being overly cooked. It will allow the interior to cook evenly throughout. That's how you get your nice red or pink core. Just 15 seconds already and you have a searing going on," said Garcia.

One way to check and see if your steak is done: stick a fork in it.

"After 30 seconds, you just remove it; put it to your lips. If it's cold, it's rare. If it's too hot, it's well done, if it's in the middle its medium. I like it medium rare. I like it warm that I can touch it but it won't hurt," said Garcia, "This is where we can see what's going on inside the meat. This is a window to what is going on inside."

After about 10 minutes on the grill we have the perfect steak.

"This is perfect. See how it's cooked a little around. That was the initial searing and the butter. All of this cooked evenly. This is how I like to eat the meat. It's much more flavorful this way. Juicy -- to die for!"

Another "secret from the chef," one word: bacon.

"One of the most popular things to use bacon with beef is to wrap the bacon around the beef tenderloin. The object there is to create fat. And create that juiciness. If you are going to wrap the bacon around the tenderloin then you don't want to sear the beef ahead of time. Because the bacon is going to do that job for you. You are going to cook the heck out of the bacon. Those bacon fat juice are going to creep into the meat and give it that extra punch of flavor," said Garcia.

Now for lamb chops. First, clean all the fat off. Pedro uses a string twisted around each bone to easily remove the fat. Garcia's tip: Always use foil on lamb chops. He recommends making a pocket out of the foil to cook the meat in. Then, about one minute before you are ready to take the chops off the grill, remove the foil.

"We are going to remove this foil -- now so the bones can get a nice treatment. You see the bones they are nice and clean, there's no fat on them. With all meats you want to let it rest afterwards," said Garcia.

He says getting creative with the veggies makes all the difference.

"Carrots can be cut into wheels, but before you do that you cut little groves into the sides around it so when you cut them they look like little gears, little stars. And zucchini, you can peel the skin away at intervals and give it a stripe peel and look. Those two combined makes it more festive, prettier on the plate for the eyes to see. We have interesting shapes as you can see. Interesting colors that are fun. It's fun! It's sexy!" said Garcia.

When cooking veggies, pay attention to the color.

"When the green is at its most brilliance. It's highest brilliance. The highest green you can get. That's when they are ready. The orange is more vivacious. The color is more orange than it was before. The greens are popping out; the food is talking to you. If you overcook you lose the nutrients in the food," said Garcia.

To create the perfect meal, Garcia says, don't overdo it!

"It's not hard. Remember, less is more. Keep it simple. We tend to think to make it better we need to use as much as you have or whatever it is that is in the cabinet. Keep it simple," said Garcia.

For more on Garcia's restaurant visit < href="http://www.elmeson.com" target="_blank">elmeson.com.

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