Then I announced to Jen and Ryan the biggest challenge of all: your appetizer, entrée, dessert, and summer cocktail each had to be under 350 calories and 10 grams of fat with a note that, “My guests better not taste what they’re missing.”
The two chefs were shocked. Ryan said, “I’ve taken bites of food with more than 350 calories.”
I gave them a quick lesson and pep talk in how to develop the recipes and how to think in terms of low fat and low calorie. I emphasized aromatics like garlic and onion: Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, low-calorie seasonings, chicken stock that stands in for high-calorie oil, and more. Sure, making salmon with Béarnaise sauce and chocolate mousse is satisfying to a chef, but creating something equally wonderful and low in calories is an even greater achievement. I actually showed them how to make delicious low calorie fried chicken.
Successful dinner parties are all about the little touches. Guests notice the attention to detail and are wowed by them. Jen picked my Terrace Room for her dinner party and had it decorated in a South Beach theme with white sofas, a tented dining table, tiki torches – a real Miami vibe. Ryan brought the beach to the table: shells, message in a bottle, candles, surfboards, a cabana-type feel.
Getting the right mix of people at a dinner party is important too. Last night, I hosted a cool group:
Chazz Palminteri. Chazz is an actor with a long list of film, TV, and stage credits. You’ve seen him in movies, including Analyze This, The Usual Subjects, A Bronx Tale, Mulholland Falls, and Diabolique.
Betty Wong. Betty is the editor in chief of Fitness Magazine and a good friend. She is also a great athlete; she just ran a half marathon!
Joe Dowdell. Joe is a celebrity fitness trainer and owner of one of the top gyms in the country, Peak Performance, in New York City.