This past weekend I had an amazing opportunity to attend the 2012 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. It was the 5th time I have been lucky enough to go to the festival and every year I am blown away by the quantity and the quality of the food.
The festival is gluttony at its finest. You pay a single entrance fee to get into each event and the events usually consist of 4-6 hours of consuming as much free food and booze as you can possibly shove in your face. To give you a little taste of what I mean, my favorite dishes included stone crab claws, fried oreos, cookies and cream macaroons, a wagyu beef burger, truffle artichoke soup, a ginger curry milkshake, and plenty of alcohol to wash it all down.
But as amazing as the food was, that’s not what this post is about. One of the coolest parts about the festival is that you get to see live cooking demos hosted by some of today’s most famous celebrity chefs. I have loved the Food Network ever since I first started watching Emeril Live instead of doing my homework back in middle school, so this is a part of the festival that I always look forward to most.
As much as I was trying to avoid thinking about eating healthy all weekend, the last place I expected to hear about it was at Iron Chef Michael Symon’s cooking demo. Maybe it was the recent Paula Deen Diabetes announcement that urged him to speak out, regardless, his message was right on point. As he grilled a rack of pork chops and balsamic peaches, he educated the audience about the importance of eating real food, especially fat. He said, “Fat is not making you fat. ‘Low-fat’, ‘reduced-calorie’, ‘skim’ products ARE making you fat. I guarantee it.” While my slight intoxication may have caused me to alter the exact translation, this was his message in more or less words. It was a very refreshing message to hear, especially from such an unexpected source.
While I wouldn’t consider most Food Network chefs to be the best source of nutritional information, it does seem like most successful chefs have a pretty good feel for what constitutes real food. Maybe it is because their profession forces them to know where their food is coming from instead of thinking that food is something that magically appears on a plate in a restaurant.
I think it is fairly safe to say that we could all benefit from having a better connection to where our food comes from and how it gets on our plate. Anthony Bourdain went as far as to say that he thinks everyone should be required by law to know how to cook an omelette and roast a chicken. He was probably referring more to the morning after then he was to eating healthy but the point came across nevertheless.
It is nice to know that more and more people are spreading good information about how to live a healthy lifestyle, even if it’s not from the so-called experts.
I would sum things up like this…
Know where your food comes from. Love to cook. And eat real food, especially fat.
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