Nutrition Expert and Anthony Bourdain’s Take on Skinny Chefs

I did it on an airplane. And late at night next to my husband in bed. It has prompted stares of amazement. One of the books I’m totally into right now that is laugh-out-loud funny and responsible for my outbursts is Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook, by Anthony Bourdain. This guy has intrigued me since I saw a photo of him standing buck naked with a cigarette in one hand (though I’m anti-smoking) and a perfectly positioned femur from a large animal in the other–not an image that quickly leaves the brain.

Tony probably doesn’t know who I am, but I did get to snag a photo with him at the American Dietetic Association Conference.

Anthony Bourdain and Michelle Dudash

Bad photo taken on a disposable camera (I forgot my real one!) of Tony Bourdain and me.

One passage from the Medium Raw chapter, “So You Wanna Be a Chef”, really hit the nail on the head:

“If you’re comforting yourself with the dictum “Never trust a thin chef,” don’t. Because no stupider thing has ever been said. Look at the crews of any really high-end restaurant and you’ll see a group of mostly whippet-thin, under-rested young pups with dark circles under their eyes: they look like escapees from a Japanese prison camp—and are expected to perform like the Green Berets.”

Amen! Praise the Lord, that someone with street cred came out and said it.

Here are the black berets of Mary Elaine’s, a five-star restaurant I cooked at back in the day. (Front to back: Me, Anjana, Jason Oakley, Peter Bondus, Bradford Thompson).

Hell-o people! Haven’t you noticed the gorgeous kitchen gods on Top Chef? Daniel. Rocco. Hubert. Eric. All skinny.

Women often ask me, “Well, do you even eat?” smirkily smiling. Really? I don’t assume that all heavy people lack self-control. Life gets in the way. People have different metabolisms. Some people work two jobs, and if it’s between sleep and exercise, they choose sleep. I don’t blame them. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Here I am 8 years ago with chef Brad, weighing 105 pounds without trying, and living on pasta, coffee, and truffled lobster risotto. I didn’t exercise much then since I had a part-time job to supplement the low pay of my full-time job as a fine dining cook.

I eat three meals a day plus snacks. I eat cookies or chocolate almost daily, but I make sure to eat my broccoli, too. And I love to exercise. Three to four days a week of an hour of yoga, weight lifting, or running, I definitely wouldn’t consider excessive. Would you? I’m constantly moving. I chase after my 1 1/2 year old, only eat until I’m comfortably full, and eat junk food occasionally. You will rarely spot me eating food with artificial food coloring or artificially added trans fat. The only time you’ll see me consume artificial sweeteners is when I’m drinking my more-than-I’d-like-to-admit can of Diet Coke. Full-fat cheese? Love it. A good burger? Bring it on. Just not too much.

Let’s make the next weight loss craze, “The Skinny Chef Diet.” I think it will be big.


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