The art of clean eating, according to celebrity chef Daniel Green
With a passion for healthy eating, chef Daniel Green believes that wining and dining can be clean fun. The award-winning chef, who is also an accomplished author and TV personality, is going to show you just that in his latest collaboration with The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. Call it an art form, he is introducing a special guilt-free gourmet dining menu that takes inspiration from the hotel's Iridium Spa's Suite Retreats. The retreats that can be experienced over one, three or five days incorporate three key elements: detox, clean eating and weight loss. It is something that resonates with the chef in his 'no cream, no butter, no cheese, no deep frying' philosophy – all the dishes that he creates are low in carbohydrates, low in fats and high in protein. Ahead of his specially curated dining sessions on 28 and 29 August at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, we speak to him about 'The Art of Clean Eating'.
1) You're a strong believer in healthy eating as a way of life – what are some principles that you follow? Any tips on how we can adopt this into our lives too?
I believe keeping it simple is the key. Focus on adopting a low fat, low carb diet but don't miss out on flavour! How do we do that? Well, simply – no deep frying, no cream, butter or cheese. Get your carbs from veggies and fruits and plenty of them! No rice or wheat, and have a day off a week so you never feel deprived. If you do have carbs, have them for breakfast as you'll burn them off in the day.
Like they say, eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner!
2) Can you share with us helpful suggestions on developing healthier cooking habits?
Yes, follow these three principles:
i. Oil the food not the pan, that way you'll use minimal oil when cooking.
ii. Always invest in a great non stick pan. You'll be able to cook without any fat and use stock rather than oil to cook vegetables and stir fry's.
iii. Buy lean meats and always take the skin off chicken!
3) As Malaysians, we pride ourselves as a foodie nation with a rather obsessive habit of 'live to eat'. What's a healthier way to approach eating?
Always live to eat, always enjoy and celebrate food. Try to keep the guilty treats to the weekends and always love food, just make the right choices. Great food does not mean unhealthy food.
4) What's your advice for someone who is interested to explore a clean eating diet? What should they be aware of?
That they will feel better when they try this. Follow the 80/20 rule. We all have vices, so have a day or 2 off a week, or even a treat meal a week, so you never feel like you're on a 'forever' plan. If we could have anything, anytime, it loses its appeal, so always make food a treat.
5) How do we manage our family and friends (or social expectations) when we're trying clean eating?
Always have lots of choices. You can have more options for the guests, but have plenty of protein options and fruits with salads so you can be in control. It's all about planning.
6) The general perception is that gourmet food can rarely be healthy or guilt-free –what's your take on this?
That's not true! Surf and turf, caviar, fresh seared and grilled fish, shrimp cocktail, fillet mignon, Japanese food, lobster, sashimi, quail eggs, ceviche, steak tartar, tuna tartar, etc—these are all top restaurant choices that are naturally guilt-free, carb-free and low fat.
7) Tell us about your collaboration with The St. Regis KL. How did this come about and what can we expect from the specially curated menu?
After designing 1st class menus for Cathay Pacific and other luxury hotels, it is an honour and privilege to collaborate with The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, to showcase what I can do with ingredients that are brilliant and good for us.
I love working in Asia and I love Malaysia! The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur is an exquisite product and Iridium Spa's Suite Retreats is the perfect platform to share what I love in the most meaningful way. I have custom curated the menu for its 1/3 & 5-day bespoke retreats that will have guests not only eating healthier and cleaner but also helping them kickstart their journey towards a better lifestyle.
8) For the lunch menu, you're introducing cauliflower pancake with smoked salmon. And for dinner, it's the filet mignon with red wine and pomegranate sauce with parsnip puree. What do you want people to know about these recipes?
Well, I need them to know only one thing – do they love the taste? Then I can explain what changes we made to give them a five-star experience without the guilt. We are looking at really low fat, low carb and they won't believe it until they try it.
9) Following your collaboration with The St Regis Kuala Lumpur, what are some of the values do you share with the brand?
We both share the same values that we both want our guests to be able to enjoy the fine food and fine dining experience, yet without the guilt. We want guests to remember the food they love and leave feeling good about themselves. We also want them to know that clean food can be full of flavours too. Having access to incredible ingredients at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur also ensures the quality of what I've designed is as high as what could possibly be.
10) Through all your partnerships and travels, how have your attitudes towards healthy food changed?
Food trends change, [but] nothing will change about real food that is grown naturally. It will never be bad for us. Travel opens up new trends and fuels my inspiration on what people want now. With so much information out there, I am able to keep creating and learning as well. Food always changes but sometimes goes full circle and goes back to the classics. I live and love to travel!
Get a taste of 'The Art of Clean Eating' on 28 and 29 August at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur in a 3-course lunch priced at RM140+ or a 4-course dinner priced at RM390+ per person. The exclusively curated menu is also available when you sign up for Iridium Spa's Suite Retreats. For reservations or more information, call 03-2727 6666 or email [email protected]