low calorie meals that are nutritionally balanced, look good and taste even better
‘Low Calorie Fine Dining‘ is a new concept born from my passion for fine dining and nutrition. I have started this project at the beginning of 2018, but the idea has been ‘cooking up’ in my mind for almost a year. My aim is to create low calorie, fine dining dishes that are easy to make at home, are cooked and presented in a modernist way and also taste delicious.
The idea was born back in 2017, when I realised that life as a private chef and – at that time – Culinary Arts student, has started to take a toll on my weight. I love eating just as much as I love cooking. But with so many foodie temptations around me, I often find it difficult to keep track of my weight. Adopting any of those strict diets was never an option for me for two main reasons. First: I don’t really believe that they are effective on the long term. And second: when you have to study food, to learn how to cook each ingredient and to cook for others as a profession, you can’t really afford to exclude ingredients from your diet, or keep up with a consistent diet plan. This is how I started to think that that calorie count might work for me. I have studied a Nutrition module at the University, so I find it easy to estimate calories even when I don’t have a calorie calculator at hand. But I can appreciate that for most people, counting calories does not come handy. So this is how the idea was born. An idea to create low calorie dishes that are nutritionally balanced, look good and taste even better.
The concept has two main attributes: the low calorie attribute, and the fine dining attribute, which I see as a mix presentation and taste/flavour.
In order to provide the calorie count and nutritional information of each dish I am using a professional calorie counting software. The same software is used by food manufacturers in order to generate the labels containing nutritional information of food products. I have learned to use this software while studying the Nutrition module for my BSc in Culinary Arts Management. But more than that, during my studies I have learned how to balance the ingredients, how to mix and match them so that in the end I get a nutritiously balanced meal.
All recipes published under the #lowcalfinedining category will be labeled with a calorie count. Also, at the end of each post I will provide a ‘traffic light’ type of label, showing basic nutritional info as well as percentages of the daily recommended nutritional intake, as per UK regulations. It is the same label that you can see on most supermarket products across the UK. I opted for this type of label, as I believe that you will find it familiar and easy to understand. I would love to hear your thoughts about it. So feel free to let me know in comments whether if you find it useful, or if you want me to include even more nutritional details in each post.
The presentation bit may sound a bit superficial. But I can assure you it isn’t. The popular belief that ‘people first eat with their eyes’ is backed by scientific research showing that people will find a dish much tastier and would even be willing to pay more for it if it looks better. And I am the perfect example here. Would I eat something that doesn’t look good? Probably – if it doesn’t look dangerously bad, and if I’m super hungry and have no other option. But I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. And I have always believed that once I get trough the trouble of cooking something, I should also spend an extra minute or two to make it look appetising.
For the taste/flavour component I am using all the knowledge and experience gained during the 3 years of study for BSc degree in Culinary Arts Management, as well as the ongoing experience as a private chef. I am also using my past experience as a vegetarian. During all those ‘vegetarian’ years I have learned to love vegetables and to take them out of the ordinary by using various cooking techniques and flavour pairings. It is a skill that I find extremely useful for this project.
I am very excited about this new concept and I’m looking forward to reading your feedback. So please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think about it. And if you like what you’re seeing, follow the hastag #lowcalfinedining and the official Instagram page of the project @lowcalfinedining.