Michelle Bernstein in Parade: "Put Down the Spoon, Pick Up a Carrot"

Three good-looking chefs were laughing it up on yesterday's cover of Parade (yes, I still pick it up). The title of the story is "How Top Chefs Stay Slim" and follows with culinary wizards Art Smith, Cat Cora, and Curtis Stone sharing belly-busting secrets.

It also includes some eating rules of advice from Michelle Bernstein, owner of Michy's and Sra. Martinez. "Put down the spoon, pick up a carrot," she says and then goes on to explain that many cooks, both professional and amateur, taste their food preparations before serving the meals, which in many cases, according to Bernstein, translates to ingesting 800 to 1,000 calories. A bit of this, a drink of that, and she's right -- many of us have had a meal before we sit down to eat it.

The question that begs to be asked is: How do you prepare meals without extensively tasting first? How do you know if the dish needs more seasoning, sugar, broth, etc., if you don't try it?

On a transatlantic ship some months ago, two well-appreciated, well-nourished top chefs -- Ueli Bachofner of Switzerland and Pier Paulo Infanti of Italy -- praised the art of tasting and more tasting. Both chefs had frequent demo tastings for foodies during the 14-day sail, and both of them strongly stated, over and over again, that, "You can't trust a skinny chef!" It's true that each chef weighs in excess of 300 pounds and was never seen on the deck where the gym was located, but that's just a detail. They served meals for more than 2,000 passengers and 1,500 crew members on any given day. And they are seemingly happy about their full figures.

So whom should we trust? Julia Child once said, "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."

James Beard stated, "A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch."

Maybe the most appropriate quote for the rotund as well as the svelte among us is by Michael Psilakis, costar of BBC America's No Kitchen Required and executive chef of Kefi and Fishtag in New York City and at MP Taverna in Roslyn, New York. He said in the article: "Quit the clean-plate club. I used to eat beyond being satiated just because I liked the way it tasted. Stop eating when you're full, not when your plate is empty." 

Tasty advice.

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Marguerite Gil