Today I welcome one of my favorite online chef buddies, Chef Achim Thiemermann, aka @ChefKeem as Guest Blogger. I've known Keem for about four years now, and very rarely have I met someone as enthusiastic, giving and passionate as he is--about food and life in general. He is a Delight. He is helping his friend, Chef and Nutrition Therapist Alain Braux, promote his newest book, Healthy French Cuisine for Less Than $10 a Day. After reading Chef Braux's book, I am happy to be able to welcome him here to tell you all about it. Take it away, Keem!
Hi all - Chef Keem here!
My dear cooking blog buddy, the ever-so-gracious Chef Jenni, allowed me to guest-post today on her outstanding site. For that I am truly grateful. And I think you might be interested in my story about my friend and fabulous French Chef, Alain Braux.
You see, Jenni, Alain and I share a great passion for cooking and baking. Okay, let's be honest here: we die for sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla beans. Except that Chef Alain disagrees. He says, we're dying from our excessive love of the above. However, he adds, we don't have to. Good news, no?
Let's back up a few years...
Chef Alain was born in Southern France and raised on Mediterranean cuisine. After his apprenticeship he worked at four-star places such as Le Grand Hotel du Cap d'Antibes and l'Hotel Negresco, Le Moulin de Mougins in Cannes, Lenotre in Paris, and two of the finest pastry shops in Brussles, Belgium: Espagne and Wittamer.
In America he worked for top pastry shops in New York City, helped open Lenotre in Houston, ran his own cafe and bakery in Austin, and even taught pastry arts at the culinary academy.
I'm sure you agree that Chef Braux is an authority on "killing ourselves sweetly" with rich and delicious food. And so he did. Well, almost. His workplace stress had gone through the roof, and his cholesterol levels weren't far behind.
What's a good French chef to do?
First, he studied macrobiotic cooking. Then he acquired a B.S. in Holistic Nutrition. Then he cried "Vive la ...(fill in the blanks)!" and went to work on healing himself with the principles of his native cuisine.
No more statin drugs or any other prescription meds.
Only real fresh, real delicious food.
After one year of dining exclusively on fabulous French gourmet recipes, his cholesterol levels were back to normal. Alain documents his cholesterol story along with tons of nutritional advice, meal plans, info on healthy foods and cooking methods, and much, much more in his first book, How To Lower Your Cholesterol With French Gourmet Food. And after being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, he published a second book, Living Gluten And Dairy Free With French Gourmet Food.
So, why am I telling you all this here amidst Chef Jenni's gorgeous creations, where "healthy" actually plays a lesser fiddle, next to her brilliantly conceived and beautifully presented "Stairways to Pastry Heaven"?
Because Chef Alain is one of us. He feels our fear of having to give up the goodies, so he does something about it: he shows us how small changes to our shopping list can have a huge impact on our health. He educates us in such a gentle and compassionate (and knowledgeable) way that we feel transformed just by listening to him. He makes that much sense.
The real beauty of it is: his dessert recipes taste just as good, or--dare I say--even better, than their traditional counterparts, with only a few minor adjustments for our long-term well-being. The same goes for his appetizers, soups, salads, and meat dishes.
The Chef's Flourless Chocolate Cake is a great example. Hey, it's even gluten-free to boot! The picky pastry people of Austin, Texas have consistently voted this recipe among the top four in the city. At our annual newspaper polls, many a celebrity confectioner has been left in the sand, dusting the refined sugar off of his designer jacket.
This doesn't mean that Alain never uses refined sugar. Some things just work better with it. But most of the time he chooses raw or turbinado sugar, agave nectar, or any other, truly natural sweetener.
For his savory recipes, he reminds us of the true life-changers: farm-fresh, organic, high-quality ingredients. Don't underestimate their importance for our health - just read Alain's horrifying reports on the regular supermarket stuff we put into our bodies every day.
Some of you may think, "But healthy eating is so expensive!"
Enter Chef Braux, again. His newest book, "Healthy French Cuisine For Less Than $10 A Day", brings it all together for us:
- No-nonsense info on sugars, fats, and many other important food items
- The real cost of not eating healthy
- How to make the transition to cooking fresh food
- A grab bag of assorted saving tips
- How to keep your food cost down
- Tips on growing your own food
- Healthy (and unhealthy) cooking methods
- Meal plans and many seasonal recipes
- ...and much, much more.
You may or may not know the saying, "You can always tell a German, but you can't tell 'em much."
So here I am - a German-born hard head raised on cream sauces and cream puffs, taking gleeful pride in selling the most "lethal" pastry concoctions to unsuspecting health "nuts" at the local farmers market, rationalizing ("It's got coconut in 'em!") and down-playing ("Um...only 385 calories per bite.") my admittedly divine goodies...
But lately I feel that even my redemption is possible. Alain's voice touches something inside of me, and I think I know exactly what it is: the hanging on to old, unhealthy eating habits for nothing but habit's sake. Why would I eat food that's bad for me, if food that's good for me tastes even better? Dunno. Stupid habits.
However, with Chef Braux's ideas I just might find my way out of this mess. And, perhaps, you will find something useful to improve your health, as well.
As a Thank You for reading this post, Chef Alain sends you this little bonbon sample:
Truffes au Chocolat et à la Prune
Dark Chocolate Prune Truffles
Try this winning combination of chocolate and prunes, and think of all this good fiber coursing through your digestive system. It's also loaded with antioxidants. Who said chocolate can't be good for you?
Servings: 4 - 6 * Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes * Cost per person: $1.18
8 oz pitted prunes
4 oz pitted dates
6 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup finely grated unsweetened coconut
1. Place the prunes and dates in a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop. Scrape the processor bowl.
2. Add the almond butter, maple syrup and cocoa powder and run until the mix is smooth and thick.
3. Roll the mixture into 24 one-inch balls and then roll in coconut to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
There is no better present to give to yourself and your family than the gift of cooking good food for vibrant health and happy living.
It's me again. I sometimes feel a bit squidgy promoting stuff, but Keem sent me a complimentary eCopy of Chef Braux's book, and I am very impressed. Real French food. An emphasis on health. On balance. And on economics. He really can feed a family of four real, healthy food for right around $10 per person per day. How awesome is that?! Plus, well over 100 pages of material on how to eat healthy, foods to stay away from, how to shop, healthy cooking methods, organic versus non-organic foods, the skinny on GMOs and processed foods in general, how to stay on budget, how to eat yourself healthy and--a big one for me--how awful it is to cook with a microwave oven.
And guess what else? The recipe section of the book is set up seasonally. We all know how much healthier it is for us to eat locally and in season, and the way this book is set up helps us to do just that.
So, there's my pitch, piggybacking on Chef Keem's pitch. If you're interested in purchasing this or any of Chef Braux's books--and I think it's worth your time to do so--you can click the affiliate links below and help us feed our cats. Thanks, and have a lovely day.