During the winter months, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet while still indulging in all of our favorite holiday treats. Top Chef Richard Blais and Alli hosted a luncheon at the Andaz Hotel to show that eating well during the holidays is manageable, without sacrificing on flavor and your favorite holiday recipes. Chef Blais has recently lost over 60 pounds by maintaining an active lifestyle and balanced diet, and his demonstration proved that you don't have to be a top chef to eat and cook healthfully.
Chef Blais shared some helpful tips on how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays as he prepared a healthy and fantastic lunch. He started with a raw beet salad with jicama, apple & mustard dressing, explaining that the term "salad" shouldn't sound boring: it shouldn't signify just leafy greens, but rather "any combination of fruits and vegetables, tossed in a flavorful vinaigrette." Blais also shared a tip that's all too familiar to Rachael Ray readers, that your vegetable stems are just as delicious to eat and fun to cook with as the vegetables themselves.
Next, Chef Blais moved on to a beautiful rack of lamb with date syrup and Swiss chard. He wanted to make something alternative to the traditional turkey, while staying true to holiday flavors. He explained how to add flavor without adding fat, by incorporating spices and herbs to make a dish more savory. He also shared how to liven up a dish with an element of citrus, but if you're looking to get a citrus flavor without the acidity of an actual orange, lemon or lime, adding the zest will do the trick.
Finally, Chef Blais demonstrated how using a whipped cream canister can cut calories by adding volume to desserts, and thus helping with portion control. He made a whipped buttermilk and Greek yogurt parfait with lavender honey, clementines and puffed rice cereal, and shared how adding flavors we normally associate with sweet (such as vanilla, cinnamon and lavender) without adding an actual sweet element is a great way to add flavor without making a dish unhealthy, too.
It was a truly inspiring and delicious afternoon with Chef Richard Blais that left me feeling full and satisfied without that lingering holiday guilt. I hope to use some of his helpful tips in my own cooking all year round!