New York chefs shed pounds to fight hunger

Thu Oct 8, 2009 12:38pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A group of New York chefs have been eating smaller portions and working out in the gym to lose weight and raise up to $250,000 to fight childhood hunger.

About 15 culinary experts taking part in the New York City Wine & Food Festival hope to drop as much as 20 pounds (9 kilograms) each for the project, which is part of a national weight-loss campaign sponsored by Weight Watchers.

"Most of us are just a little chubby. We taste a lot and it's part of the culture," admitted Anita Lo, who has taken up the challenge along with Michael Lomonaco, Jacques Torres and other chefs.

About two-thirds of Americans are overweight, according to government figures, which also show that 8.3 percent of families with children face hunger at some time during the year.

Lo and the other chefs were urged to take part in the effort by festival organizer Lee Schrager, who is also trying to shed excess weight for charity.

Lomonaco said he piled on the pounds after he opened Porter House, a high-end steak restaurant three years ago.

"I was a fitness fanatic. Opening the restaurant was really tough. Chefs eat out of stress too," he explained.

To drop the pounds, the chefs have been eating sensibly, drinking fewer glasses of vintage wines, and they have turned down invitations to restaurant openings.   Continued...