Photo: ThinkstockBy Ashley Williams
For most chefs, an ordinary day at the office requires tasting and perfecting dish after dish and consuming hundreds of calories in the process. But it turns out, many top chefs have discovered some surprisingly tasty ways to keep the pounds at bay. Here are a few tantalizing suggestions put forth in Smart Chefs Stay Slim, a new book detailing the eating strategies of today's culinary superstars:
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Realize nothing is good to the last bite. "The most compelling part of a dish is the first three or four bites," explains Thomas Keller of the three-Michelin-starred restaurants French Laundry and Per Se. "That's when you get the maximum pleasure." The takeaway: Move on to another course after a few forkfuls--or step away from the table altogether.
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Delight in dessert. Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert and Oprah's former personal chef Art Smith (who lost 85 pounds three years ago) are two big-time chefs who allow themselves to indulge in a little bit of chocolate every day. As for other treats, Smith advises, "You have to say to them: 'Yeah, you're a friend of mine, but you can't visit very often.'"
Stop being scared of salt. For those of us not watching our sodium intake, the spice can make a typical dieter's meal--baked chicken, anyone?--taste better. "It's got to be in the cooking [not added later]," says celeb chef Marc Murphy. "Salt brings the flavor out...Don't. Be. Afraid."
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Create your own perfectly-sized meals. To make the most of your calories, Tom Colicchio suggests keeping your eye at the top of the menu. "Appetizers are more interesting than entrees," he says. "I'll usually order three."
Rethink your veggie options. Tired of the same old salad? Chef Alex Stratta recommends cutting up romaine then drizzling it with olive oil, garlic, and salt before roasting it. And it's time to embrace nose-to-tail eating for plants: Broccoli, artichokes, and Swiss chard are among the veggies whose stalks and stems can perk up a healthy but otherwise mundane meal.
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