IN THE KITCHEN WITH GIL BUTLER
Tell us about yourself:
Hi! My name is Gil. I’ve been working in food service for over 10 years and describe myself as a “health-focused private chef” specializing in Paleo, Keto, Whole30, Bulletproof, Carnivore, AIP, gluten-free, allergy-free, and just overall healthy food.
How did you get involved in cooking?
My interest in cooking started in high school when I started learning about nutrition. At the time however, I thought eating well just meant avoiding trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup as well as actually limiting meat intake. Shortly after, I joined a gym where the coaches were all talking about Paleo. I thought it was nuts and was convinced everyone would end up with terminal illnesses from it. However, rather than dismiss it, I decided to research it a bit. I purchased the main book that was available at that time “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain and I was hooked. “Eating like humans have evolved to eat for millions of years.” It made so much sense. I decided to try it, actually increase my meat intake, and felt better than I ever had. I had to help spread the world, and with that my company Primal Chef was born.
At the time, I didn’t really know how to cook but I knew about the diet. I started doing nutrition coaching at the gym and started hosting Paleo cooking classes, instructed by a local chef I hired.
Eventually that chef moved away, and rather than trying to find someone new, I decided to go to culinary school, start working in restaurants, and eventually started teaching the classes myself.
Now, I am a health-focused private chef in Los Angeles cooking for some of the highest profile people around including business executives and celebrities.
Describe your cooking style:
Health-focused without it looking like it. I don’t cook the typical boring “healthy foods” that are sold at most California cuisine type restaurants.
Instead, I take world cuisine – a lot of it inspired by my personal travels throughout South America and Asia to optimize dishes for health without losing the integrity of how the dish is supposed to taste.
For example, you can make any flavor-packed traditional dish from anywhere in the world, but using the following changes that will not hurt the taste one bit but make all the difference in your health:
- Instead of cooking with refined vegetable oils like most restaurants do – use avocado oil, coconut oil, or better yet – US Wellness Meats beef tallow. Everything – from mayonnaise to chinese chili oil to wok-fried street food can be made with a better oil.
- Instead of sweetening everything with refined sugar, use coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
- Instead of wheat-based soy sauce, use organic gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos.
- Instead of coating things in wheat flour – use tapioca, cassava, coconut, almond flours. Or at the very least, all-purpose gluten free flour.
- Instead of low-quality table salt (lacks minerals and often contaminated with microplastics), use high quality Himalayan pink salt.
- Instead of using very low-quality meat and dairy, use 100% grass-fed and finished.
- The last bit of advice — maybe even the biggest is to cook these foods with non-toxic cookware. So many homes and restaurants, including ones I have worked in, use Teflon chemical coated pans that are in poor shape, heated too hot, and may contain aluminum and lead. This can easily leach into your food. Many people also cook with plastic utensils! Whenever I am in a home and see these things, I like to show the owners the deep scratches in their teflon pans and their plastic utensils tongs missing chunks of materials and ask “where do you think this went? In your food!” Instead, choose stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic cookware, and stick to steel or silicone utensils.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
I learned about grass-fed meats from my research into the Paleo diet. Grass is the food that many animals are supposed to be eating and in return they produce more nutrient dense meat. They also more closely resemble the fat profile of wild hunted meat which is what humans evolved eating.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
My favorite recipe using grass-fed meat would be a simple grilled ribeye steak topped with chimichurri sauce!
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
I’m going to take the more functional survival approach here to answer this and assume I don’t have a refrigerator!
Ingredient 1: Beef Pemmican
Ingredient 2: Beef jerky
Ingredient 3: Dried mango
Ingredient 4: Ghee
Ingredient 5: Some paleo cookies for comfort
Kitchen tool: Chef knife. Is that answer too easy?
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
Learn how to tell when meat is done by poking it. You don’t want to have to keep stabbing meat with a thermometer as you’ll lose a lot of the juices. It is also way quicker. A finger is more instant than an instant read thermometer!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
There’s that old, outdated saying — “never trust a skinny chef”
Let’s change it a bit — “never trust a skinny chef, unless they are a health-focused Paleo chef
named Gil Butler”
Anything else you want to share?
Yes! My cookbook, Primal Paleo Cookbook, is now available! It is packed full of the types of health-optimized world cuisine recipes I talked about earlier.
Pick up your copy here: https://bioptimizedpaleo.com/Gil
Your social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube):
Cookbook videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEqXlQk1oPQzsavYQhp6p1g
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