Fire up the grill with confidence this summer! Top Chef judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and Top Chef: All-Stars winner Richard Blais, share their best tips and techniques so you'll be the toast of the neighborhood.
Find the Right Grill Temperature
"Learn how to control heat," advises Colicchio, who owns New York City's Colicchio & Sons and Craft restaurants. "Too often home cooks cook at too low heat or too high heat." To keep the temps just right, Colicchio recommends grilling over indirect heat to avoid flare-ups.
Season to Add a Flavor Punch
"A lot of people think fat and salt [add flavor], and those are important, but it's really acidity," says Atlanta-based chef Blais. "Finish your [veggies or side dishes] with a squirt of lemon or lime or a couple of drops of vinegar. That's what really makes food pop." Agrees Colicchio: "Knowing how to season—using salt and pepper—is a very basic thing that always makes a statement."
Venture Outside of Your Kitchen Comfort Zone
"Pull recipes, buy ingredients, don't be intimidated. The only way to be a good cook is to practice," explains Simmons. To search out new ingredients, Simmons suggests shopping on the outer edge of the grocery store. "Skip the middle and just shop the parameter where all the fruits and vegetables are. That's where you want to be the most."