September 6, 2007

Chefs Share Their Secrets

I've told you about chefs that can turn healthy foods into fattening foods with too much butter or cream, but now Reader's Digest searched America to find chefs who are putting down the fats and still cooking good tasting food.
When Michael Wild prepared his savory chicken dish for eager diners 15 years ago, he'd start by reaching for butter and cream to prepare the sauce. Today, the owner/chef of Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, Calif., poaches the chicken in stock, tops it with a mushroom-rich mustardy vinaigrette, and artfully arranges his creation on a bed of greens. The butter and cream rarely leave the refrigerator.

Susan Weaver, executive chef at Fifty Seven Fifty Seven, the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, builds flavor with vinegar, citrus fruits, mustard, spices, and herbs. That approach applies even to whipped mashed potatoes, a traditionally butter-rich member of the comfort-food family. "We puree the cooked potatoes with chicken stock and mustard, which gives a dense, rich flavor," she explains. "The creaminess comes from the potato itself. The taste is that of a luscious, fat-laden dish, but in fact there's no fat whatsoever."

It's chefs like these showing the rest of America it's possible to have good tasting, satisfying healthy restaurant meals.

They are the ones deserving our applause, and business. And fast food restaurants could be doing the same thing. There's not one reason for a salad to be 700 calories. A side order of potatoes doesn't have to be fried; it could be mashed with chicken stock.

As Chef Pierre LeBlanc of the Culinary Institute of America said : I look at low-fat cuisine as a challenge to creativity and a catalyst to healthier food that taste better.

All restaurant chefs take that challenge. I dare you.