DiSpirito rehabs fatty American comfort foods

Tue Mar 9, 2010 2:45pm EST
 
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Rocco DiSpirito used all of his culinary tricks to slash calories from the 150 fatty foods Americans love in his new book, "NOW eat THIS!"

The 43-year-old chef showed that much of the fats and sugar in comfort food like macaroni-and-cheese and brownies can be replaced with ingredients such as Greek yogurt and beans without sacrificing taste.

DiSpirito, the former owner of the restaurant Rocco's 22nd Street which was the subject of a network reality show, has also completed a Web-based food/travel series "Into the Heart of Italy" with actress Marisa Tomei.

The New York City native, who recently completed a triathlon, spoke to Reuters about healthy cooking, asking his fans for help and surviving reality TV.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: "A lot of chefs have started to talk about this topic because we as a group are evolving and aging. And we realize that health as it relates to food and the messages we send out in the media are becoming important. This book is the anti-diet cookbook. It's one that says you can have your cake and eat it too."

Q: Isn't that what gets Americans who are overweight into trouble in the first place?

A; "What you can't have are the calories, but can you have the dishes you have grown to love your entire life and have versions of them that still taste pretty damn good? Yes, because chefs have gotten involved into the mix. With the craft comes the knowledge of manipulating food and picking certain cooking techniques and recreating certain creaminess in food without fat."   Continued...

 
<p>Chef Rocco DiSpirito in an undated photo. DiSpirito, 43, the former owner of the restaurant Rocco's 22nd Street which was the subject of a network reality show, has also completed a Web-based food/travel series "Into the Heart of Italy" with actress Marisa Tomei. REUTERS/Kritsada/Handout</p>