"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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Wall Street Journal Review

Vegan or omnivore, serious eaters who care about their health—or at least their waistlines—will find Allison Adato's "Smart Chefs Stay Slim" (New American Library, 292 pages, $25.95) a refreshingly readable—not to mention appetizing—alternative to run-of-the-mill diet books. Ms. Adato, a People magazine editor whose work has brought her into contact with many of today's celebrity chefs, has produced an upbeat anthology that is part motivational tome, part healthy-living guide and part—thank heavens—good recipes.

In 15 chapters and 92 "lessons in living and eating," Ms. Adato goes to more than three-dozen famous and fit chefs, including Thomas Keller, Rick Bayless, Eric Ripert, Sue Torres and Ming Tsai, for their personal approaches to happy, healthy eating. What she learns is rather reassuring for home cooks: "Eric Ripert, of the four-star seafood temple Le Bernardin, will sometimes come home and cook chicken in the toaster oven, a trick he learned from his (nonchef) wife. Chefs known for steak had secret vegetarian lives. Quite a few ate chocolate daily—that was definitely something I wanted to do too."

And then there are the recipes, among them Laurent Gras's Halibut Ceviche With Jalapeno and Parsley, which uses orange as well as lemon juice to round out a dish that is as zesty as it is nourishing; Mark McEwan's Steak With Horseradish Dressing lets herbs, olive oil, Dijon mustard and freshly grated horseradish give his strip steaks added kick without a butter overload; and Karen Hatfield's Apple Galette delivers all the flavor of a massive slice of apple pie in a concentrated, nongluttonous tart.

All well and good. But after finishing this edifying volume, one is still left suspecting that the best chefs, like the best ingredients, should err ever so slightly on the side of plumpness. One doesn't want to be fed by a fat slob who will obviously eat vast amounts of anything in sight. But one should also avoid cooks with the sort of lean and hungry look that bespeaks excessive fussiness and—worse yet—sour digestion and a personality to match it. The ideal chef should practice moderation in everything . . . and that includes slimness.

A version of this article appeared June 9, 2012, on page C6 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Hands-On Approach to Summer Eating.


Cooking Light review