Last night, I threw the “Perfect Summer Dinner Party,” but I threw in something else: The chefs had to coax maximum flavor from a minimum of calories and fat. Each dish had to be under 350 calories and under 10 grams of fat.
Although calorie-light meals are a great lure for dieting customers, not all chefs are crazy about the concept. After all, they have at their fingertips all the ingredients from which highly caloric masterpieces are made -- butter, cream, eggs, sugar, chocolate, foie gras, and liqueurs are untouchables when a chef attempts low-calorie, low-fat dishes.
All that fattening stuff was off limits to the chefs who created last night’s dinner party. I didn’t leave them in the lurch though. I armed them with my latest book, The Now Eat This! Diet – part of my series of books on healthy, delicious, low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat recipes. Because of my own weight battles (I was once popping buttons at 30 pounds too heavy) and cardiovascular issues (a doctor asked me to draw up a will on the spot), I’ve spent the last several years devoted to healthy cooking that tastes amazing and helps you stay absurdly fit. My secret has been to rework America’s favorite (and fattening) comfort foods into flavorful, low-calorie, low-fat renditions that taste as good, if not better. Think fried chicken, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate ice cream. Yes, you can eat all that if you prepare it using the techniques and recipes in my books. OK, enough of the plug … let me introduce last night’s chefs.
Fabio Capparelli – Executive Chef at Park Central Hotel in New York City. Amazing, Fabio was only 20 years old and already an executive chef! I was impressed by his youth and accomplishments. His dad is a chef and Fabio wanted to make him proud.
Jen De Palma – Owner of Jen De Palma Catering in New York City. She’s an Italian-Colombian chef in constant motion in the kitchen. Jen reminded me of Julia Child; she was drinking her wine and pouring it into whatever she was making.
Ryan Poli – Executive Chef at Tavernita Restaurant in Chicago. He started cooking in restaurants at the age of 17!