An occupational hazard of being a chef is overeating, but many chefs have managed to slim down—and keep the weight off. Collectively, Nancy Oakes of Boulevard in San Francisco, Mark Strausman of Coco Pazzo in New York City and Jeff Tunks of DC Coast in Washington, D.C., have lost a total of 200 pounds. Here are the recipes that helped them do it, plus tips for dieters on how to navigate a restaurant menu.
Oakes lost more than 20 pounds, in part by eating two to three appetizers instead of one large entrée. To satiate cravings, she picks foods high in healthy monounsaturated fat, like avocados. Plus, she says, "I brush my teeth a lot because nothing tastes good afterward."
Strausman lost 65 pounds following a realistic diet regimen of fish, vegetables and whole wheat. Instead of drizzling olive oil into vinaigrettes, he recommends measuring amounts carefully, then mixing in water. His pet peeve? Customers who order dressing on the side. "People almost always end up using more dressing that way," he says.
Tunks didn't lose 110 pounds by taking radical steps. Indeed, his diet plan includes eating three meals a day, all before 7 p.m., and favoring high-protein meats like chicken liver. At restaurants, he recommends eating brothy soups (he especially loves Vietnamese pho), which aren't usually made with butter. How does he manage to taste dishes on the job without overeating? "I use an espresso spoon," he says.