Above: Chef Nigel Spence
By Nigel Spence
This New Year 2015, like many years past, offers a chance of renewed energy to fulfill failed resolutions, achieve newly set goals and to live your dreams.
For years, my New Year’s resolution was to have no resolution at all…though the jury is still out on that. However, determined by some unknown or secret society, it seems the trend this year is focused on fitness and health.
Already, designers are busy promoting some really cool active wear that allows you to migrate from work into a gym with minimal changes. Even tennis champion Serena Williams has developed an exclusive line of active wear for women which she promotes on a home shopping channel.
Another innovation taking over this year is “fitness trackers” – a wearable device which keeps track of your daily activities to help you overcome your health challenges, including weight, eating habits and sleep. I was the proud recipient of one of these gadgets for Christmas; I seriously questioned the motivations of the gift giver, as I wondered what it was about me that inspired them to choose this gadget until I took it for a test drive.
Since wearing the new little privacy invader that has you input information about yourself that should only be spoken with your inside voice, I have never felt so much guilt about my daily routine.
My everyday practice that I have been following for ages is to start with 2 or more sets of daily lifts: I lift the bottle of rum to pour, then lift the glass to drink – no telling how many reps I could manage per day. After monitoring the kitchen at the restaurant, and tasting EVERYTHING for the beginning of service, I can easily find myself in 3 or 4 different social situations that ALWAYS include food and drink, of which I am never shy to participate. By the time the weekend rolls around I can easily DOUBLE that number. None of these situations ever seem to occur close to a weight bench or treadmill.
After being monitored and analyzed for about 2 weeks, the results are grim. Turns out I weigh 83 pounds over my ideal weight and I consume enough calories on average in 24 hours to feed three grown adult men. Without adjusting my favorite pastime downward, it predicts that within 17 months I should experience great difficulty navigating through a doorway; if I don’t get a heart attack before then. That information sure was a downer for the New Year, yet it sure is a wakeup call when you see your personal “stats” in black and white EVERY morning as you awake, with pie charts, graphs and all, so you KNOW it’s official.
But where do I go from here.
I have an AMAZING relationship with food and drink.
We are NEVER at odds with each other.
I have never met a rum I didn’t like.
Even the worst pork belly dish I ever had was still good (ironically, it was because the fat was trimmed from it that made it not so good in my eyes).
I have decided that I will be following Gwyneth Paltrow’s lead with handling unhealthy relationships on this one and effect a “conscious uncoupling” from food and drink, and seek out a new partner that is more in tune with my goals – namely, exercise.
I have already used my cheffy skills to effect this change by taking some of my favorite ingredients and dishes to new heights by altering them to be more healthy, without an appreciable loss in flavor, taste and overall satisfaction.
By simply altering a few methods, changing a few ingredients, you can have a very tasty and healthy dish in no time.
So with the popularity of these little wearable widgets on the rise and the health trend fully underway, the food industry will be even more challenged to produce newer and more creative dishes that promote healthy eating and move away from some of the traditions we have grown accustomed to over the years.
I will share with you a new favorite dessert recipe, taken from my recent creative vault. It fits right into today’s healthy trend and will have you savoring every spoonful, It tastes great, yet it is also good for you; not easy to get in a sweet treat. The grapefruit component also helps to curb your appetite.
Cheers (sparkling apple cider in hand) to better health in the year 2015 and beyond!
“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
Joshua J. Marine
PB &G Dessert
Pineapple, Banana & Grapefruit Dessert
1 Cup Grapefruit Juice
1 pineapple, peeled and cut into cubes of a size that your particular blender can handle to puree smoothly, reserve 1/2 cup of the whole pineapple for garnish.
2 bananas, cut in pieces to puree smoothly in blender, reserve half of one banana for garnish.
2 Tablespoons mint leaves, rough chopped for garnish
Put the pineapple, grapefruit juice and bananas in the blender and puree until smooth.
Mixture should be a thick consistency.
Cut reserved pineapple and banana into medium dice cubes and mix with chopped mint leaves.
Pour the mixture into individual dessert bowls and chill for at least 3 hours.
Garnish with pineapple and banana and mint mixture immediately before serving.
Optional additions: Ginger juice, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla seeds