Lessons in Eating and Living from America’s Best Chefs

By: Allison Adato
Forward by Art Smith

Published:  December 31, 2012


Chefs are around delicious, tempting food all day. So how do they manage to look good while eating so well? When People magazine editor Allison Adato found covering the restaurant world was taking a toll on her own waistline, she turned to top chefs for their secrets.  Here, more than three dozen greats like Eric Ripert, Thomas Keller, Rick Bayless, Tom Colicchio, and Michelle Bernstein reveal how to:

  • Always enjoy the food you love
  • Choose big flavors for maximum pleasure
  • Read a restaurant menu and indulge the way smart chefs do
  • Cook the easy, satisfying meals that pros prepare at home
  • Use lemon, salt, and olive oil to make almost any dish terrific
  • End your day with a square of chocolate

You don’t have to cook like a four-star chef to eat like one! Like so many Americans, celebrity chefs also face the strain of balancing a good diet with a busy lifestyle. Now they share their own smart tips, scrumptious recipes and personal stories of losing over 100 pounds, of taking off baby weight and eating with kids, and of celebrating a love for food without sacrificing health—all while indulging an appetite for life.

Are you looking for realistic tips for eating healthy?  Are you curious how chefs and others in the food industry stay slim when around food all day?  This book will show you how the pros prioritize and plan, yet still enjoy the food they prepare and eat what they love.

This  book was a great reminder to basically eat what you love.  No matter what chef was interviewed, each one of them basically said you should eat and not restrict yourself…in moderation.  Who can go without chocolate or ice cream or pizza or pasta for the rest of their life?  Well, not me, but I have learned that I don’t need a huge bowl of ice cream, but instead a small serving will give me the same satisfaction with less calories and guilt.  The chefs agreed that you should still enjoy the foods you love without depriving yourself.

Something that I learned from the book was Lesson #26 – Salt Your Food.  I didn’t realize the role salt plays in almost every food we eat.  Not just salt, either, but pepper.  Seasoning our food brings out the flavor and can make or break a dish.  I have been more aware of this in my cooking and making sure that salt is not the forgotten ingredient.

I also appreciated that the topic of alcohol was mentioned.  I am someone who likes to have a glass of wine while cooking and/or with our dinner…once in awhile.  A tip that I have discovered when attending parties and was happy to also see mentioned in the book is drinking one glass of water for every drink of wine (or other beverage).  It helps you stay hydrated and not feel sick or have a headache in the morning!

For most of the chefs, working out was a priority.  Due to the numerous tastings they do each day, the amount of calories consumed is very high.  Exercise has to be a priority in order to maintain their weight and yet enjoy regular meals with family.   French chef, Eric Ripert, makes it a priority to walk EVERY DAY….no matter what.  He walks to work, a distance of two miles, every day, no matter the weather. 

As a parent, I have read numerous times the importance of eating with your children.  Having family dinners around the table have been shown to improve health and self-esteem of children.  So, it was no surprise that the chefs also make it a priority to eat together as a family.  Even if the chef doesn’t eat the meal because they had eaten at the restaurant, they still sit down together and enjoy the family conversation.  Again, it is about making time for what is important and I was happy to hear that with their busy schedules, even they could find time to have meals together.  

The book is also full of recipes right from the chefs, including dishes served in their restaurants and their homes.  I am very anxious to try Karen Hatfield’s Apple Galette.  It sounds simple to create and yet, is special and delicious.

This is a great book if you want to learn more about chefs and how they handle the pressures of working around food all day.  A lot of their tips were ones that we can all use in our own lives.  Mario Batali said it best, “That’s the beauty of life: eating a good meal, having a couple bottles of wine with friends, and laughing and being happy.”     

Allison Adato

Alison Adato is a senior editor at People and an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine,, LIFE, and other national publications.  She lives in Manhattan with her family.  

For more about Adato or the book, SMART CHEFS STAY SLIM visit
Follow Adato on Twitter, HERE.
Like Smart Chefs Stay Slim on Facebook, HERE.
Click below to purchase the book from Amazon.

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