Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The French Culinary Diet

Why don’t the French get fat? With all the butter, eggs, cheese, bread and pastry that is consumed one would think that French people should be obese. On the contrary, studies have shown that the French diet is something quite special. French gastronomy is an enigma of sorts – have you ever seen a chic French woman in a plus-size Chanel – it’s just not the case.

Going in to culinary school I feared my regular diet and the addition of French food would pack on extra pounds that I didn’t want! Somehow, I’ve miraculously lost about 15+ pounds while at school. How could this be? Maybe I should write the next diet book, “The French Culinary Institute Diet” and the subhead would read,
“How becoming a Chef will shed the pounds!”

Seriously, losing weight by attending cooking school is probably short of a miracle for some. Somehow I did it, lugging my heavy 40lb. bag over my shoulder day after day filled with my knife pack, uniform, books, etc., walking all over the city and going up and down subway stairs and the stairs at school helped me drop excess weight.

Now for the eating part, I simply ate smaller portions, lots of protein and veggies and also indulged in ice cream, sweets and anything chocolate. For me working around food for hours at a time, I just lose an appetite to eat a large meal, taste testing and sampling goes a long way and the desire to have a huge meal vanished.

Many nights my dinner would be the end cuts of lamb and duck, some salad and not much else. Tasting food is part of the job as a Chef, making sure the food you serve is the very best makes for lots of little bites here and there. Spoonful after spoonful of a spicy duck broth or decadent lamb sauce goes a long way and as a Chef I’ve learned that moderation in any diet is really the key to success.

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