My Body

Matthew Kenney Doesn't Subscribe to Fake Meat and Wholeheartedly Trusts Skinny Chefs

Our week of chefs continues. The late hours, the endless rich food... Is there such a thing as a healthy chef? We investigate. Today, Matthew Kenney, of Pure Food and Wine, FreeFoods NYC, and numerous other restaurants gives us his take on the "never trust a skinny chef" maxim. 

  • Having cooked for so many people, what lessons have you learned about healthy eating? I’ve been a pretty healthy eater for most of my adult life. It’s about moderation. I don’t believe in hard core diets. I just believe in listening to your body. Chewing your food. A good balance of ingredients. The only thing that's really changed over time is that with each year, I’m more and more vegetarian. People say never trust a skinny chef. To me, it’s the opposite. I don’t trust a really unhealthy chef. I feel like if they don’t understand their own body, they don’t know how to nourish me. Food should taste great, but it shouldn’t make us sick.
  • Do you eat dessert?  About how many a week?  I was eating a piece of chocolate when you called! I eat dessert pretty much every day. But I focus on a lot of desserts that aren’t heavy with dairy and refined sugar. 
  • Are you in touch with your body? Understanding the chemistry of food and seasonality and how to handle food properly, I feel like I have a huge advantage. A lot of people who would love to be healthy don’t really know everything about food that would help.
  • What do you think of vegans?  A lot of the year, I’m vegan. A lot of times I’m just strictly focused on raw foods. So I think vegan is great. The components of a vegan diet can give you most of what you need. But I don’t eat soy or soy products at all. I don’t subscribe to fake meat. I think you can live well on any diet, though.
  • Do you ever exercise outside of the kitchen, if so what do you do and how often? I run all the time, and I lift and play tennis when I can. I walk whenever I can. 
  • Is being fit and healthy and well rested incompatible with being a successful chef?  They can definitely go together. I think there are quite a few chefs now who are running marathons. I’ve always found it really easy to be healthy as a chef. The good thing, when you own your own restaurant, you have a lot of flexibility to set your own schedule. It usually doesn’t start too early in ther morning. You have to get a workout in in the morning, but then you're fine. 


Matthew Kenney

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