Book: Smart Chefs Stay Slim by Allison Adato
Genre: food and health
Publisher: New American Library
Publication date: 2012
Pages: 292

Source: Library

cover of Smart Chefs Stay Slim by Allison AdatoSummary: The subtitle of Smart Chefs Stay Slim says it all: Lessons in Eating and Living from America’s Best Chefs. Chapters cover topics like “Eat Big Flavors” and “Eat Your Vegetables” with each chapter providing several Lessons offered by one or more of the chefs that Adato interviewed. These short pieces are peppered with quotes and anecdotes making this a good lunch book, consumed in quick small gulps on busy days and in long multiple courses followed by a cup of tea on the rare day of calm.

Thoughts: Smart Chefs Stay Slim was the perfect book to follow the one I wrote about last week: Book Review: Culinary Intelligence by Peter Kaminsky. After reading Culinary Intelligence, I felt resolved to take my cooking to the next level as part of my strategy to maintain my weight loss. In Smart Chefs Stay Slim, I met chefs who were already at the next level (or, rather, many levels beyond) and used their expertise to feed themselves and their families with delicious and nutritious meals.

Chefs deal with long hours, awkward schedules, and overeating as an occupational hazard. The chefs in this book found ways to eat light, exercise, and enjoy food and fun with their families. Their strategies are an inspiration to the rest of us with somewhat fewer challenges.

I loved the memoir bits in this book where Adato tested these ideas in her apartment kitchen, with her child, or on her own palate. Here’s a bit from “Lesson 3: They are picky eaters” from the Eat What You Love chapter. Smart Chefs eat the best and don’t bother with the worst. This is how that played out in Adato’s life:

It is a strong argument for a little snobbism, I think. Once I started thinking of myself as the kind of person who eats only the best chocolate, the great wall of candy bars at the grocery checkout became all but invisible to me. The vending machine just steps away from my office door? I no longer think of it as containing anything edible; it’s more like an art installation celebrating things I used to eat at four p.m., when I was desperate for sugar and salt.

I like that so much because it exactly matches my experience with chocolate.

There are recipes by the chefs at the end of the chapters but I haven’t had a chance to make any yet. My first pick is “Rick Bayless’s Grilled Chicken Salad with Rustic Guacamole.”

Appeal: This will appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to give up good eating in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

Other Reviews: This is the second week in a row that I reviewed a book I learned about from Marion Nestle’s blog. So, let me take a moment to introduce you to Food Politics. This blog is a great resource for keeping up with news about food issues in short pieces meant to be read by non-scientists. Just this month, she’s covered sweetened beverages, new FDA safety rules, and the over-advertised superpowers of pomegranate juice. There’s also a new list of books. I’ve reviewed two of Marion Nestle’s books on my blog:

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeThis is the second of four books I’m reading for the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Smart Chefs Stay Slim supported my resolution to figure out weight maintenance.

The first book supported my resolution to think deeply about what comes next: Book Review: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year by Leonie Dawson.

logo for Foodies Read 2013This is my second of 14 books I intend to read for the Foodies Read 2013 Challenge.

Weekend Cooking meme graphicCheck out more good food and cooking posts around the web for Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll


Book Review: Smart Chefs Stay Slim by Allison Adato — 16 Comments

  1. I applaud you first and foremost for your determination (I may actually be encouraged and move forward with my weight resolutions!). But following food politics is I believe also important for reasons beyond weight – we should be aware of what is going on around us and how/if we can do something about it. Keep up the good work!

  2. this sounds like and thought provoking read. I watch some of the current travelling food shows and just shake my head at all those people drooling over some of the unhealthiest greasy food I have ever seen. eeks. yes, there is some good oods shown, but most of it just makes me cringe. I recall that the over sized burger where the ‘buns’ were really two overly cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, had eme clutching at my chest. thanks for pointing out this book.

  3. I love that perspective of eating only the best (and junk food/candy is NOT the best…). I am a bit like that myself with chocolate, and I wish I could extend it to chips and salty snacks. Thanks for sharing!

    • I managed to get like that with chips. It took appreciating the artistry of the house-made potato chip that you get at some bars and funky restaurants. I only eat chips when I can get those and since I don’t get to that sort of place very often, it naturally limits them to very special occasions.

  4. Joy, Thank you for this. I want to stay slim by eating delicious food- not a lot of fake “low fat” and artificially sweetened products. This book might help me find healthy stuff that tastes good too. I also enjoyed looking over the posts on Food Politics, and I’m happy to see that soda consumption has dropped in the US. The advertising push in the rest of the world is unfortunate.

  5. Pingback: New Year’s Reading Resolution Challenge — Wrap Up | Joy's Book Blog

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