I believe, that to cook well, you must like to eat.
I figured that there must be a reason why most chefs aren’t exactly skinny, runway model-thin, tiny size zero human beings. I’m not saying that people who like to cook and cook well have to be fat, obese, or exploding at their seams. Not at all. It just seems that as much as cooks may watch their weight and diets, they aren’t exactly fanatically counting calories every time they sprinkle freshly grated cheese over simmering bowls of hot soups, nor scrunching their faces in horror every time they sift icing sugar over that beautifully decadent chocolate pound cake.
I mean, let’s take this out of the kitchen and the cooking sphere for a while. We’re using the same logic of how a person who writes well in general has to like to read in order to differentiate good and bad writing, and how a person who paints well has an eye for appreciating well-made paintings. Get the point now?
Good cook = Fat cook?
Some of the famous household names, such as British Jamie Oliver– the Naked Chef, Rachel Ray, and Emeril Lagasse are slightly round (or more than just slightly round) at their sides. Some chefs even look like they are literally bursting with happiness.
What about those skinny chefs?
However, there are also chefs such as Giada de Laurentiis, whose slim figure has made skeptics question their integrity as chefs. The Chicago Tribune featured an article in October 2010, with the large headline “Skinny celebrity chefs can’t be trusted”.
How do you cook and eat all that food and still stay slim?
It’s obvious that many people find it very contradictory to reconcile good chefs with slim, fit bodies, and the stereotype image of a cook is one with love handles, muffin tops and bulging tummies, and a very large ear-to-ear grin. The typical image is that of a plump but contented man or woman, happy with life’s good food and unconcerned about image or cholesterol.
This has since resulted in a weird fascination and constant question in the cooking/food environment whenever people see a cook who does not fit the stereotype described above. Apart from the very obvious topic of good food and recipes, one question frequently asked by people is “How do you cook and eat all that food and still stay slim?”
Many articles have been written based on this oxy-moronic question.
The Daily Mail published a post in April 2012 on “How top chefs stay in shape – despite being surrounded by food all day”, and the Daily Beast posted an article in December 2009 entitled “How top chefs stay thin”.
I’ve only started cooking (and cooking so furiously) in April 2012 – that’s just a mere 5 months of cooking. However, the connection between eating a lot when you cook a lot is really very simple – these extra kilos have to go somewhere (and sometimes the destination is your tummy, your thighs, or maybe even your face.)
Here are some of the tips from the Daily Beast’s article which I find particularly practical and useful (especially since I have experienced firsthand how cooking can literally add inches to your waistline).
3 tips on How to Cook a lot Without Gaining the Extra Weight:
1) Taste, don’t gorge
Cooking is a very pleasurable activity, especially when you observe how basic ingredients are successfully transformed into a deliciously tempting dish. The trick is not to overindulge. Cook only when you know there are people to help you finish up that meal, and only when you are having dinner with fuss-free eaters (not those who are forever moaning about those extra calories and stare at their dishes as if the dishes are about to eat them up).
Of course, it is essential that when you cook, you have to taste your dishes in order to know how much extra salt or sugar to add to it; or whether the consistency is just right. But then taste it, and eat just your portion of it, don’t feel obligated to finish up everyone else’s portions just because you made it.
2) Exercise is fundamental
According to the article, “It should come as no surprise that all the chefs we spoke to are fastidious about working out.” Hatfield virtually moonlights as a competitive cyclist. Pichet Ong, one of Manhattan’s most beloved pastry chefs and dessert makers, maintains his teensy 28-inch waist by hitting the gym two or three times per week, and he also walks everywhere, and walks “very fast,” and the demands of the chef’s life keep him “constantly on his feet.”
Personally, I go to my Curves gym (http://www.curves.com/)three times a week for a 30-minute routine (a huge feat compared to my past non-existential exercise life), and I also recently bought a hula hoop to work out in my free minutes on those days that I feel lazy to go out but still want a quick and easy workout. Every bit of exercise helps, and intentionally scheduling exercise into your life is among the first steps to keeping your body in shape.
3) Sit down to eat, and then eat healthy
The article talks how chefs warned “never to eat while standing up, working, or moving around” and the need to “make time for actual meals.” Greg Griffie says that “it’s possible to taste and graze throughout the day and have consumed thousands of calories without ever knowing it.” When you do sit down for a proper meal though, use garnishes such as healthy chutneys and vinegar-based sauces, rather than heavier options that rely on butter, oil and cream.