PORK Product

I’ve been so crazy busy the last couple of weeks, I haven’t had enough time to properly focus on what to prepare for dinner. I know you must be thinking, “Say it ain’t so, Bill!” but it’s true.

Is there anything worse than being forced to make dinner without the proper inspiration or the time to amply plan this all-important highlight of the day? Obviously not! If I can’t have a delicious dinner to end my day, then why did I bother to get out of bed? Why did I go to work? Why did I take the children to school? Why did I do any of my myriad daily chores? None seem to have any meaning at all without a terrific, sumptuous meal to celebrate all my little mundane daily accomplishments. Are you with me on this? I should hope so, for if your idea of a great evening meal involves a drive-thru, there’s really no hope for you at all.

I try to use a few simple techniques; I hope they can help you find daily dinner inspiration. If this sounds like a five-step program, relax. Maybe cut down on the caffeine.

My first suggestion: Question those who might be sharing your evening repast if there’s anything in particular they might like to enjoy. Remember, their opinions don’t necessarily matter, but it usually makes them feel better about themselves if you ask. Another technique I often use is to check my emails. I follow quite a few blogs and magazines. Don’t forget Instagram. We eat with our eyes first. Next, as most daily conversations generally center around the subject of food, your friends, colleagues or even your children might inspire you with their likes or opinions.

That last example worked quite well for me recently when my eldest daughter called me from school, ranting about how her roommates didn’t eat pork because they didn’t like the taste. My response? Move out. You don’t want to catch whatever loser, shoemaker disease from which they suffer! Then magically, out of the blue, I was craving pork tenderloin. Perfect, because pork tenderloin lends itself to all kinds of cuisines and flavor profiles, is perfect for grilling because it’s naturally very tender and low in fat, and cooks very quickly.

Marinades and brines are very important when grilling because they add additional flavor and moisture and can tenderize meats as well. I generally like to give meats an overnight swim in the marinade to impart the most flavor. But in a pinch you can shorten these times a bit. Just try to give meats a minimum of eight hours. Once the fire’s ready, simply wipe off the excess marinade and grill away.

I decided on a yogurt and Za’atar spice marinade for my pork.  Give it a try; it just might remind you how delicious and easy properly grilled pork tenderloin can be.

Chef Bill’s Yogurt & Za’atar Spice Marinade

  • 3 Oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. Za’atar spice
  • 1 Tsp. ginger, minced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl, add protein and coat.
  2. Place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate.

Until we cook again,

Contact Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at [email protected] to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!