Imagine a young boy sitting in front of the television watching his favorite cartoons on a Saturday morning—a typical scene played out in many households. Not so for Las Vegas culinary wizard and barbecue pitmaster, Chef Phillip Dell. He traded Bugs Bunny for chefs like Martin Yan and Justin Wilson and filled his Saturday mornings with cooking shows on PBS. As he grew older, his love for all things culinary only grew stronger.
At an early age, Chef Dell realized his life would revolve around food—all he wanted was to become a chef. Whether it was helping his mom decorate a cake, bake scrumptious goodies, or cook a family dinner, he was there. By the time he was 8, this future chef was making 4-course meals for his family on his own.
At the end of summer every year, he stayed with his grandparents to help with the annual pig roast put on by his grandpa and uncle. That’s where Chef Dell’s love for barbecue really started to develop. After acquiring a Certificate of Culinary Arts at Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center and a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, as well as a minor in Nutritional Science, from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, he spent several years competing and winning in barbecue contests in the Midwest. Unfortunate life circumstances took him out of professional barbecue for over a decade, but he returned to the circuit in 2013 with a will to win and spent several years honing his craft and refining his flavor profiles to please the palates of the West Coast.
Professionally, Chef Dell went from a humble start as a butcher’s helper at Deering’s Meat Market in Traverse City, Michigan to Pastry Sous Chef at the Wynn-Las Vegas several years after college. Prior to joining The Core Group as a chef for the Las Vegas market, Chef Dell developed several entrepreneurial ventures, including Sin City Chefs, an upscale, private chef company, and CPD Enterprises, a culinary consulting and catering firm. In 2018, Chef Dell also ventured onto the food truck scene with Fusion Beastro, an elite gourmet food truck.
In a single year, Fusion Beastro was featured multiple times on the Cooking Channel on shows such as Carnival Eats and Carnival Kings. Fusion Beastro also received the “Best Food Truck” award twice, garnering the coveted award at both the Spring and Fall Great American Foodie Festival. Chef Dell’s brand-new food truck was also named as one of the best food trucks in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Review Journal in its annual “Best of Las Vegas” contest. Fusion Beastro and Chef Dell also garnered top honors at the 2019 Motley Brews Hopped Taco event with a win in the “Taco Loco” category.
Throughout his lifetime, Chef Dell has earned numerous awards in multiple fields, including winning the title of Chopped Champion on the Food Network’s Chopped “Cook Your Butt Off” episode, being named National Educator of Excellence by the National Restaurant Association, and earning the 2016 Teacher of the Year award by the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. Over the years, he has also won awards in natural bodybuilding and is a three-time, all-natural, world champion powerlifter. More recently, he seasoned and smoked his way to a perfect score and three awards at the 2017 Jack Daniels World Barbecue Invitational competition in Lynchburg, TN.
Beyond his win on Chopped! and his food truck features on the Cooking Channel, Chef Dell has also appeared on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and the Cooking Channel’s Firemasters. Chef Dell also loves to spread his passion for food by teaching classes internationally and by being a regular on SOS radio (SOSradio.net). The smoke rarely clears, and the fire never gets cold for him, but you can bet that when it does, you will see him outside grilling or in the kitchen cooking with his amazing wife, Leah.