Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top Chef is Tops with Healthy Food Challenge

I was jazzed up last night when my favorite TV obsession--Top Chef (I have watched every episode of every season since it started)--featured an elimination challenge that required the contestants to make delicious healthy meals. Personally, I feel that every chef in the U.S. at least should have some responsiblity to do the same thing, but more on that soapbox in a later post.

The winner was Dale, who is my least favorite contestant on the show, but he did come up with an interesting dish that was very healthy and looked like something I would enjoy eating. His originality showed in his use of buffalo meat. I've only had this protein once, and I liked it. I would eat more of it if it were more widely available: it's very lean, high in protein, and tastes like beef. He made what sounds like a tasty mango chili marinade by boiling fresh and dried mango together in rice vinegar and then adding the beef, which he then grilled. Secondly, he added brown rice and then scooped the salad into big pieces of bok choy, which served as a tasty, crunchy, and obviously 0 points bowl. It looked really good--so good, that, despite my not liking him (oh yeah, I said that already) I saved the recipe to try myself. I'll report on the results in a later post.

This challenge was to cook for members of the Chicago Police Academy. What a great view into a slice of everyday life for thousands of working people in this country: people on the go who need a satisfying, even hearty, meal that is also delicious. But, because everyone is getting so fat, they need something that is also low calorie and healthy. Bingo--the producers hit on the crux of the American food problem: sating hunger with healthy food when your options include numerous choices that are filled with fat and calories and more fat. Bravo Bravo! for thinking outside the box on this one.

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