"Many top chefs have discovered some surprisingly tasty ways to keep the pounds at bay. [Their] tantalizing suggestions [are] put forth in Smart Chefs Stay Slim, a new book detailing the eating strategies of today’s culinary superstars." -- OPRAH.COM

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10-Day Smart Tips Countdown: Don't Eat Breakfast before your Appetizer Arrives

Day three of the 10-tip countdown is given to one of my favorites in the book, from Landmarc and Ditch Plains chef-owner Marc Murphy. It's so simple, yet so easy to forget, as we've become conditioned to swan diving into the bread basket once we've handed our menus back to the waiter.

Here it is: Skip the bread and butter before dinner. 

Murphy remembers being at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Paris and having a waiter ask if he wanted the sauce that came with the dish he ordered. Of course! he said.

The waiter told him that he always asked Americans this, because they often ask if there is butter in the sauce, and then ask the kitchen to hold it. But Have your breakfast for breakfast!then, he observed, they all "make the tartine," slathering butter on bread and eating what many French people eat for breakfast.

The moral: Keep the sauce on the plate where it belongs (there isn't that much butter in it anyway), and if you must have a tartine, enjoy it the next morning with your coffee or tea.


Tomorrow: Eating with Kids -- and not letting them ruin your best intentions.


Smart Tip: A Taste is Just a Taste

Do you taste what you're making as you're cooking? If you do, congratulations: This is a just what chefs do when they are in the kitchen.  Making sure what you're cooking is cooking as you want it to is essential in the professional kitchen. But all those little bites, tastes, dips into a sauce, samples of the sirloin... they add up. They may not feel like a meal because you're not sitting down, but they count. 

During the time that he was losing about 90 lbs. (down from 280) chef Alex Stratta became very conscious of every bite he took on the job. "I dip a spoon," he told me during our Smart Chefs Stay Slim book interview. "You don't have to taste a whole scallop."  It was one of many strategies he employed to take the weight off. Alex Stratta before, in 2006

It is instructive: Watch watch you eat when you're cooking. Marc Murphy entertains at home often, and finds that by the time he is ready to serve, he is no longer in need of the meal he is serving to his guests. He might have a glass of wine and that's it.  I'm trying to be aware when that is the case for me.  Limit those bites, or count them as part of the meal. 

Still a third chef confided that his secret was switching from tablespoons to teaspoons when he is sampling -- a 2/3 calorie reduction.  My version: Keep those baby spoons from when your children stop eating mush; they are the perfect size for sampling. (Related: I've used the measuring cup from my son's childrens Tylenol to measure out appropriate doses of tequilla -- for me, not him.) Alex Stratta, now

I'm not saying don't taste your creation -- on the contrary, cooks who don't taste what they are putting out reguarly get voted off reality shows. But don't have a whole meal before you put out a whole meal.