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Chef Michael certainly is no stranger to the kitchen and he has been kickin’ it with a Mediterranean flair in the City of Brotherly Love (aka Philadelphia)… He is a man of few words, but don’t let his dry sense of humor fool ya’ as he can serve it up in the kitchen with all kinds of flavor!
Check out the video… That’s the real fun!
FYI he can Break Dance too!
Everyone likes a good secret, a mystery of sorts that hides behind a nearly edible veil of the unknown. Secrets are not gossip, but instead they are those juicy, delectable and delicious little tidbits that can be every bit the right side of the truth.
I have a fascination with secrets, a desire to understand the unknown and the unexpected. Life hands me a giant question mark and my response? “How do they do that?”
One of the biggest mysteries is the secret behind staying healthy and fit. We go to the gym, we lift our weights, we run endless miles on the treadmill hoping to get somewhere but often times find ourselves right back where we started . It’s a conundrum, the age-old chicken and egg question. Exercise before food? Food choices before heading off to the gym? Six of one and a half dozen of the other and at the end of the day still no answers, just secrets and mysteries…
So I had to know, with a freezer full of prepackaged “this, that and the other thing”; how do THEY do it? How do THEY create those meals in the name of health and wellness to bring us portion control, sound nutrition, and most importantly, a plan for living and not simply a diet.
So I reached out to the Food O Sphere fully expecting the foodies of that universe to reach back with answers. Instead, I was greeted with a deafening silence. But as order reigns supreme even in the seemingly random chaos of the dieting world, there was a lone voice of reason, a light at the end of the caloric tunnel (and before you get all upset, and decide that this is some grand scheme to hide a “paid placement” behind my thoughts, my experiences and my musings…) let me say it again, I reached out to the ENTIRE Food O Sphere and only one company reached back – Nutrisystem.
Not only did they answer my battle cry for truth, but like Willy Wonka, they opened up the gates to their secret kitchen or in this case, their Chef’s Culinary Council and offered me free access, free reign and the Golden Ticket in the best sense of the word to fully understand how their culinary masterpieces go from inspiration to perspiration and finally end up a declaration of … “This tastes too good to be good for me?”
It has been said that everything is bigger in Texas, and last week it certainly was as Nutrisystem welcomed me into their kitchen where I had the opportunity to meet with Chef Tony Mantunao, of Top Chef Masters Season 2, Chef Mark Estee, known for his restaurants stretching from Nevada to California, Chef Carmen Gonzalez of New York and also seen on Top Chef Masters Season 2,Chef Michael Solomonov, owner of Philadelphia restaurant Zahav and Chef Kent Rathbun, owner of Texas restaurants Abacus and Jaspers and a former contender on Iron Chef America.
Note to self: “If you’re going to create a Culinary Council, not a bad group to assemble…”
While none of these culinary geniuses was allowed to flex their traditional muscles in the name of the famous chocolatier Willy Wonka, they each still served up something no less unique than the Everlasting Gobstopper.
My gastronomical tour was a dream come true but it wasn’t a fantasy. Fruits, vegetables, exotic spices I had never even heard of grounded in the reality that we can live to eat AND eat to live and we need not make any apologies for it.
With a giant room full of raw ingredients, these celebrity chefs created some of the best tasting and highest-quality recipes based on the latest culinary trends. Package that all up in a, “Whoah! They even deliver this the stuff right to my doorstep.” And I not only found my answers, but I also made some new friends as I was a served up a little side of heaven… This side of healthy living.