You can trust a skinny chef! How the pros stay slim
January 11th, 2013
12:00 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

You don’t need me, or any chef in the world, to tell you the best ways to keep from gaining weight. They involve breakfast, balanced meals and exercise. Instead, I’ve become fascinated with the less obvious ways that chefs and other people who are constantly around food keep from packing on pounds.
Employ an eating double
Besides being surrounded by food at their jobs, chefs face other caloric challenges. Namely, when they go out to eat, the host chef will invariably send out endless plates of food (they call it “killing you”).

Mission Chinese chef Danny Bowien brings his manager, Allen Yuen, with him when he goes to restaurants. “I make Allen eat everything they send out,” says Bowien. “He’s the closer.”
Fake the alcohol
At some point even the most hardcore bartenders secretly stop drinking. An unnamed mixologist admits to having called ahead to bars to tell them not to put alcohol in his drinks; that way, his friends wouldn’t know he’s not drinking.

Star chef Michael Chiarello (whose new Spanish restaurant opens on San Francisco’s Pier 5 this spring) has the same idea. After one or two gin and tonics, he asks the bartender to just give him tonic with lime, as it looks like the same drink but doesn’t pack any alcohol.
Only eat turkey bacon burgers
By changing his burger habits, Erik Anderson, of The Catbird Seat in Nashville, lost 55 pounds last year. “Anytime I was going to have a regular burger, I had a turkey burger,” says Anderson, who ground in a little bacon with the turkey for obvious taste reasons.

“Sometimes I switched it up with a chicken burger. And I made my sous-chef do it, too. It’s way easier when someone is in it with you.”
Go vegetable soup on Sunday nights
Everyone’s favorite Top Chef judge Gail Simmons makes a big vegetarian soup on Sunday nights, then eats it the one or two nights a week that she doesn’t go out. “My husband thinks it’s a conspiracy: The world is out to make me get fat,” says Simmons, whose Sunday night soup specialties range from kale and white bean to the Italian vegetable soup ribollita, which she makes without bread. “Citrus and parmesan help a lot,” advises Simmons.

Play with your pasta maker
Every once in a while, Richard Blais, the chef at the terrific gastropub The Spence in Atlanta, goes gluten-free. “Farro is a big ingredient right now, and quinoa. Now that I have this pasta extruder, it’s very easy for me to bang out quinoa pasta now, or gluten-free pasta, which makes a difference. For my stomach, eating gluten-free every once in a while really helps me. The whole ‘fat is flavor’ thing - it’s definitely the way of the past.”
Eat a little of everything
“It’s all about taking only a bite of everything,” says Stephanie Izard, whose brand-new Little Goat diner in Chicago includes a bakery and a menu’s worth of non-diet dishes.

“I don’t think there’s any point in going to a restaurant just to order the steamed broccoli. If you want to get the truffled-mashed potato-mixed-medley-of-mac and cheese, or whatever you’re getting, do it. I order things just to eat Parmesan cheese. But I just have a couple of bites.”

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© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Celebrity Chefs • Content Partner • Diet Tools • Diets • Food and Wine

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Jacinto Ruts

    I became honored to get a call from a friend when he uncovered the important tips shared on your own site. Looking at your blog publication is a real brilliant experience. Many thanks for thinking about readers like me, and I desire for you the best of achievements being a professional in this field.


    January 20, 2014 at 2:43 am |

    OMG! To prepare and serve food that you the cook have not tasted along the way? Heavens to Betsy – if you won't try it, why should I? Most good cooks just KNOW you have to taste along the way. It's instinctive really. One does not have to eat but just a bit to know where a recipe is at.

    November 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  3. George Best

    There are many advertisements promising to help you shed weight and rid your body of fat forever Nevertheless there is no real research to support a lot of these claims until now New investigation has shown that there's one proven method to lose pounds and maintain it off for great.

    October 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
  4. lexingtonrobert

    Look, Most chefs are either clinically overweight or clinically obese, fact. Most all chefs we see that are slim are very young so fitness on "The Food Network" is a joke. Any cardiologist, nutritionist or exercise physiologist will tell you to avoid sweets-period. Sugar has absolutely NO nutritional value, none, zip, nada- that may not be desirable but it's true. It contains only bad carbs and is highly addictive. There are good fats (monounsaturated) and bad fats (saturated and trans). Also, anyone not routinely exercising is just not taking care of their body or health-conscious. The obesity epidemic is out of control in the U.S., Great Britain, Australia and other "progressive" countries. Chefs are not taught to take care of us. They are taught to feed us what we crave, period. (M.S. Health)

    May 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  5. mlm

    I am glad you let me comment here. My name is Luis Cabrera, I am a mexican business man. My job is to support and lead people so they can meet success.

    My comment is: I do love wine and food

    February 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  6. Ed

    I don't know TV show these guys are watching, but ever see barefoot Contesa, Emeril Paula Dean? They aren't slim.

    January 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • GiGi Eats Celebrities

      I watched TOP CHEF the other day and Emeril looks to have gotten even BIGGER now! I can only imagine the health complications he has! It's actually kind of sad.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • lexingtonrobert

        A Myocardial Infarction waiting to happen......

        May 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • lexingtonrobert

        As far as the "pasta" paragraph-people should actually eat whole wheat pasta not pasta made from white wheat, period.

        May 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  7. Philo99

    Who is Richard Blais and why is he so dumb?

    There is no fat in gluten, gluten is a protein.

    January 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • BobbyAnalog

      Richard Blais was on top chef a few seasons ago. He was pretty damn good and knows the science aspect of food. I'm guessing it was just the way the quote was edited..

      January 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  8. hecep

    Don't ask Paul Prudhomme.

    January 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Eric Palmer

      Paul Prudhomme has actually lost the majority of his corpulency in recent years...

      January 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  9. VB Mermaid

    I know gay & straight chefs who are fat and normal weight. It's all in the mind–mind over matter–and exercise, every day do something to get the body moving!

    January 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
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