Sep 14

No sabotages here: A chat with Cutthroat Kitchen’s Jet Tila

It was inevitable that we’d get to be mates with Cutthroat Kitchen star Chef Jet Tila. He likes Star Wars, we like Star Wars. Like us, he’s been known to drop the occasional salty word into polite conversation. And of course, we both love Aussie beef, lamb and goat. We caught up with him recently to talk Aussie meats, and about a couple of his recipes.

What do you like about using Aussie lamb/beef?

Australia has always been synonymous with great lamb. A chefs job is to make delicious food and that starts with the best ingredients, so you have to stay current and curious about what’s out there, and always look for the best products. In my Dallas restaurants I serve a lot of grassfed lamb and beef, especially in private events. Both my guests and me are looking for ingredients that have integrity, like beef and lamb that’s raised humanely and naturally, and that have a healthier profile with great flavor. That’s the Aussie way! I love the flavor of Aussie beef, lamb and goat, and that I'm supporting a group of farmers doing things the right way.

Do you cook with it at home? What Aussie meat dishes are a hit with the family?

Since I’m not working in the kitchen as often, I do cook at home 3-4 times a week. I love to do roasts with lamb shoulders, Moroccan lamb braises, grassfed beef in chili, and stews. I even grind my own beef and lamb blend for meatloaf.

Tell me about the Vietnamese classic dish “shaking beef” - why is it called that, and is grassfed beef a good choice for it?

The name comes from the technique – you start with a little caramel in the pan with fish sauce (think salted caramel with extra umami) - and you shake the pan to coat the beef quickly, and not let the sugars burn. You want it to have a dense, beefy texture and flavor, so Aussie beef is great for it. It’s key to cut it into good-sized cubes.

We love the satay and peanut sauce treatment on Aussie lamb! Is satay a flavor that goes on lots of proteins? What do you like about it with Aussie lamb?

Satay is really a technique, you can put it on almost anything that you can grill. I love it with lamb chops because they come with their own handle; you don’t need skewers! And that little cap on the end of the chop is the treat, I love that part. If my wife or daughter don’t eat theirs, it’s all mine!

Follow these links to grab Jet’s shaking beef and lamb satay recipes, and if (like us) you can’t get enough Jet, you can catch him on Cutthroat Kitchen Wednesdays on the Food Network, and look for his new cookbook coming out in 2017. We can’t wait!

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