How Fit Chefs Eat
Five culinary stars who split their time between cooking and training dish on fueling up.
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Serious athletes see food as fuel. They need the calories to gear up for a long run or to recover from an intense strength session. Chefs on the other hand, have an entirely different view. For them, cooking — and eating — is about comfort, pleasure and art. But what happens when the two intersect? We tapped five chef-athletes and sommeliers to find out their food philosophy and what they eat before and after a workout:
Credentials: Chef, Dovetail
Event: Muay Thai
Food philosophy: "Complicated! On one hand, I eat for fuel and am predominately a vegetarian. On the other hand, I serve food (and therefore taste it before serving) that I would consider special occasion dining, so I get my fill of guilty bits. I love vegetables and look forward to the coming seasons like I used to look forward to A Tribe Called Quest coming to town when I was a kid."
Ideal pre-workout meal: Egg whites on toasted wheat bread, water, protein shake.
Ideal post-workout meal: Raw vegetables and hummus.
Credentials: Chef/owner of Red Rooster and Ginny's Supper Club; New York Times best-selling author of Yes, Chef
Food philosophy: "I’m all about planning it out. I try to eat a vegetarian meal once a week and fish at least twice a week. This isn't just my philosophy when I’m in training; it's how I like to eat all the time."
Ideal pre-workout meal: "I try not to eat too close to my workout, so maybe three hours before I'll have a grilled chicken Cobb salad or jerk chicken. The protein fills me up without making me feel heavy."
Ideal post-workout meal: "I like to wait to eat after a workout, but nothing beats an ice cold Belgian beer with a bit of lemon or lime and a splash of ginger ale."
Credentials: Co-Chef/Owner of Seäsonal, Edi & the Wolf, The Third Man
Event: Kite Surfing
Food philosophy: "Kite surfing is really a total body workout, obviously a great strain on your upper body, but also your core and legs for balance. So, by the time you make it back to the shore, you're definitely ready to refuel. I don't mind overcompensating after a good workout. Just burned all those calories, so why not! I try to hit all the food groups, but definitely both carbs and protein to recharge."
Ideal pre-workout meal: "As a kite surfer, you're at the mercy of the wind, and during peak season should be prepared to pack up and head to the water whenever the time is right. So, I prefer something portable, protein-heavy and something with whole grains to keep me nice and full: quinoa salad with beets and cottage cheese or a nutty freekah salad with goat cheese and baby carrots, spring peas, and asparagus."
Ideal post-workout meal: "After a long session in that salty water, I typically feel three things: exhilarated, exhausted, and really dehydrated! Nothing does it like a cold Radeberger pilsner and a super fresh lobster roll."
Credentials: Chef/Partner and Union Square Hospitality Chief of Culinary Development; Author; The brains behind Creative Juice
Food philosophy: "I like to keep it to two meals per day. I recently lost 35 pounds. I'm in the best shape of my life, which I credit to my trainer at Equinox, but it wasn't until I changed my diet that I really started seeing results. I cut back on the things I used to eat all the time like bread, alcohol and sweets. But I never feel like I'm depriving myself."
Ideal pre-workout meal: "I have to have a good breakfast. In the morning I do some kind of grain or cereal, and right now I'm really enjoying almond milk. I try not to have too much dairy."
Ideal post-workout meal: "On the weekends I go out to my house on Long Island and cook fresh fish with vegetables and brown rice. Of course I want it to be delicious, and I usually do a Japanese-style preparation."
Credentials: Sombra Mezcal founder; Master Sommelier; winemaker
Food philosophy: "Eat clean and organic. No red meat, dairy, or eggs. I try to eat four to six times a day and most meals are hearty portions of vegetables and fish. By following this regimen, I am better nourished, better recovered and well-fueled for my next workout."
Ideal pre-workout meal: "Something neutral like a bit of fruit or granola. I don't want to get hungry or worse, bonk, but I also don't want to feel bogged down by a taxed digestive system."
Ideal post workout meal: A water-based whey protein smoothie with banana and almond butter.