Curtis Stone shares his love of cheese, and explains why The Biggest Loser Elimination Challenge was a personal one for him.
I have to say when I heard about this week’s Quickfire Challenge, I was instantly excited. Not only am I a cheese fanatic, but I love love love the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. Norbert Wabnig is such an expert, and really turned it on for our chefs — I just wish he had brought them a little more time. Most chefs spend 12 minutes thinking about what they’re going to cook or collecting their ingredients and preheating their ovens and pans, so how Sue managed to make a delicious cotija and gouda empanada with tomatillo sauce is such credit to her skill. I also loved Naomi’s chaumes cheese toast with skirt steak and Traci’s colombier and prosciutto carpaccio, which deservedly awarded her immunity.
This Elimination Challenge was of course very close to my heart. I have worked with The Biggest Loser for a number of years and have been personally invested in the transformation that these guys go through. I have watched some of them go from being extremely sick, unhappy, lonely, and depressed people to individuals that look great and have loads of self confidence. Watching them become healthy, happy, confident people has honestly been one of the most fulfilling parts of my career.
I’ve always been a fan of The Biggest Loser, and I’m passionate about my part in giving the contestants and viewers healthy eating tips. Let’s face it: weight loss is fifty percent food and fifty percent exercise. But it’s tough. My experience cooking for The Biggest Loser contestants was much more challenging than I ever thought possible. As a chef, the goal is always to make the food delicious and something people want to eat again and again. But working with calorie restrictions means you’re completely handicapped by not being able to cook with ingredients like fat, oil and butter, salt, and sugar. I know some of the chefs embraced this challenge and others hated it as they’ve never had to think about these kinds of things in their restaurants. A balance of flavor and texture is so important to any dish. But when you’re cooking low-calorie dishes, it’s a real test of creativity as the chef has to think outside the box, using fresh and dried herbs, spices and lemon juice for added flavor. Floyd did this masterfully with his buffalo meatballs. Another trick is to use more flavorful varieties of high-calorie foods so you can get away with using less. George did this beautifully with the addition of smoked mozzarella on his whole wheat veggie pizza.
In the end, I really admire Suvir for taking a stand for what he believes in. Unfortunately, the critics thought his veggie burger was the weakest dish. To get people to eat healthier, it’s important to work with their particular taste buds and Suvir missed the mark a little with this challenge. That being said, I will miss his sharp sense of humor and his delicious food. I can’t wait to enjoy more at his restaurant, Devi. Best of luck, Suvir!