Dish of the Day: It’s a lifestyle

Dan Doherty

John Liu Dish of the Day: Its a lifestyleBeing a chef means constant tasting, re-tasting and tasting some more – often seen as one of the perks. It’s something we drill into the chefs, if you’re not tasting, you’re not learning. For the senior guys, it’s more about making sure things taste as they should, and also a little greed I suppose when something new is on the menu or has just come in season. Chefs are easily turned on by a freshly braised piece of lambs breast, or munching peas from the pod, as are most people, I suspect, and it’s very hard to keep your hands to yourself.

People often think that this constant eating, and the fact one is rarely hungry as a result, creates a fast metabolism. There’s an idea chefs can eat as we please because we’ll simply burn it off but unfortunately that’s not true.

The lifestyle of a chef – funny eating habits and odd hours – can be really bad for the old body. It’s not as if twisting on the spot a million times a day or lugging stock pots around wasn’t bad enough. After a day of tasting and consuming way too may calories (and probably in the wrong form) you get home and realise you haven’t eaten today. That old mind trick.

So, craving a home cooked meal, and realising your other half ha saved you a bowl of pasta, you eat like a monster. The problem is this normally occurs at 1 in the morning, a time you really shouldn’t be eating. Or, the real devil, you get home, sink a few beers and nail a pizza. We’ve all done it, some more than others, but I really do think it’s vital that we take care of ourselves. I’m especially guilty of the late night eating: when you’re at work pumped full of adrenalin, with the smells of food all around you, you really don’t want to eat. When it comes to clocking off, you won’t find me sitting down for a munch, instead I want to get home as soon as possible.

On the flip side, I’ve been trying to stick to a routine, not so much a diet, more not-eating-everything-in-sight type thing. Breakfast is the killer, crispy bacon and runny eggs at every turn. Curse you cholesterol, why you be so bad for us? It’s so bloody hard, and unless you are one of the lucky buggers that consumes enough food for 4 and remains eternally skinny (even if that’s also not great for you) then as chefs, either watch what you’re putting in your cakehole, or go for a run.

You’ll thank me later. Or hate me.

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