For those chefs whose cuisine features in the upper echelons of gastronomy, creating beautifully presented plates of food with the very best seasonal ingredients is always a given, but considering the health benefits of a dish is often missed. There are, however, a select few chefs who consider it the ultimate achievement: to deliver a dish that is as thoughtful in its ingredients, technique and presentation as it is in its health benefits.
Still pushing boundaries today, at the age of 70, Joël Robuchon has recently turned his attention to moving his culinary style away from molecular cuisine and into a new wave of healthy cooking or ‘wellness cuisine’.
Robuchon’s latest book, Food & Life, published by Assouline in October 2014, explores the relationship between food and wellbeing. So determined was he to push this subject, he worked with renowned neuropharmacologist and acupuncturist Dr Nadia Volf to produce the book, which celebrates the art of both delicious and healthy cuisine.
“Traditionally, haute cuisine has a reputation for being quite rich and heavy, but this is no longer the case. Nutrition is now at the forefront of everyone’s minds and it is important for me to demonstrate that food can be light, fresh and yet still maintain the outstanding quality you would expect at a fine dining restaurant such as L’Atelier Joël Robuchon in London,” says Xavier Boyer, executive chef of Robuchon’s London restaurant.
Heinz Beck is another champion of healthy cuisine. “Eating doesn’t stop when you have paid the bill at the end of the evening, but the next day when you wake up and feel good, when you have slept well. Too [often] food is heavy, which is a strain on your organism and you cannot sleep properly,” he says.
Beck goes beyond the kitchen to work with doctors, scientists and other specialists at the Botanical University in Florence and the Polyclinic in Rome to develop his ideas on healthy cuisine. He explains: “They help me to develop my ideas and by working with them I get to know young people and together we can find new solutions to old problems.”
Then there’s Alain Ducasse who is using his influence for the good of his guests’ health at his restaurant at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Working closely with head chef Romain Meder, Ducasse’s approach represents cuisine inspired by a combination of fish, vegetables and cereals. It is, of course, another French master who is most famous for his slimming cuisine. Michel Guérard, the 82-year-old chef of Les Prés d’Eugénie, is the founder of cuisine minceur. Together with his wife, Christine Barthelemy, Guérard opened Les Prés d’Eugénie in the seventies, establishing a style of healthy cooking that is renowned around the world…
For the full article, see FOUR’s latest International edition.