Healthy Meals Fuel Marathoning ChefsBy Clara Silverstein -
Joanne Chang's mornings are fueled by lemon lust
tart and triple chocolate mousse cake, her afternoons by bananas and Power
Chang, chef-owner of Flour Bakery and Cafe in the
South End, recently ran her 12th Boston Marathon. As a chef, her extensive
knowledge of food gives her a bit of an edge in the 26.2-mile race, in which
every calorie can affect performance.
But she and other chefs who have competed in the
Boston Marathon said dedication is more important than a special diet.
"The lifestyle gives you a disadvantage," said
Rich Vellante, executive chef of Legal Sea Foods, who ran his second Boston
Marathon. "You have late nights and erratic eating patterns. You always have
desserts and fatty foods in front of you. Then again, you also have healthy
foods. You have to be disciplined."
Vellante, who also competes in triathlons, said he
follows no special diet, but he does try to maintain balance as he trains.
"I like foie gras and pasta with cream sauces,
but not all the time. Seafood as a protein is great for your health. It's a
natural with what we do on a regular basis at Legal Sea Foods."
Even though Chang has unlimited access to
ScharffenBerger chocolate and candied hazelnuts, she eats like most other
runners. The night before the marathon, she carbo-loads on bread and pasta. The
morning of the race, the regimen is bread, bananas, water and coffee.
"Because I'm around food so much, it becomes what
it should be: An enjoyable pleasure, and a form of nutrition, not a special
treat," she said.
Kevin Crawley, chef-owner of Coriander Bistro, ran
the Boston Marathon in 2001 and 2002. He is sitting this year out but already
thinking about how to improve his performance in the future.
"Those two marathons were testosterone-and
ego-driven. I'm going back to the books next time, taking the next one more
seriously diet-wise. I've been known to go up to the McDonald's drive-through
more than once."
Running helps the chefs manage the physical part
of the job.
"It perks you up so you can be running around like
a maniac in this business. It has a psychological effect on the people around
you," said Crawley, who trains with some of his staff. His pastry chef, Todd
Weldon, has completed several marathons.
"We eat giant piles of food at the staff meals,"
Above all, running helps the chefs deal with the
stress and excess calories of long hours in the kitchen.
"Something outdoorsy can help you calm down when
things are so frenetic," Chang said.
Below are recipes Chang and Vellante recommend for
runners in training.
JOANNE CHANG'S GRANOLA BARS
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. oats
c. brown sugar
1 1/3 c. coconut
1 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
1/2 c. honey
3/4 lbs. (1 1/2 c.) butter, softened
1 3/4 c.
1 3/4 c. dried cranberries
1 3/4 c. dried apricots
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. toasted sunflower seeds
Pulse the flour, oats, brown sugar, coconut,
walnuts and cinnamon in a food processor in small batches until coarsely
Place in a large bowl. By hand, work the honey and
butter into the mixture until crumbly.
Press about 2/3 of the mixture on the bottom of a
cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350-degree oven until medium
brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the dried fruits, water and
sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for several
hours to reconstitute the fruit. Pulse the fruit in a food processor until
chunky. Spread the fruit mix on top of the baked granola. Add the sunflower
seeds to reserved granola mixture and sprinkle on top of the fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees until brown, about 20 minutes.
Cool, cut into bars, and serve. Makes about a dozen large bars (they can be cut
into whatever size you like). Store in a tightly covered container.
RICH VELLANTE'S SOBA NOODLES IN VEGETABLE-SOY HOT
For the soy-mirin base (to be made in advance):
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. mirin (sweet rice wine)
3/4 t. sugar
2 T. vegetable oil, preferably grapeseed
1 T. finely
chopped fresh ginger
1 t. chopped fresh garlic
1 1/2 c. sliced shiitake
1 c. broccoli florets
1/2 c. carrots, cut on the bias
c. snap peas
1/2 c. quartered tomatoes
2 T. soy-mirin base
vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 c. tofu, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (can
substitute shrimp or chicken)
2 T. sliced scallions
1 lb. soba noodles,
blanched in boiling, salted water (do not overcook)
To make the sauce: Place the soy sauce and mirin
in a small saucepan. Slowly heat (do not boil). Add the sugar and stir to
dissolve. Cool and reserve.
To make the noodles: In a saute pan, heat the oil,
ginger and garlic. Saute until the garlic begins to soften. Add the mushrooms,
broccoli and carrots. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Add the snap peas,
tomatoes, soy-mirin base and vegetable or chicken stock.
Once warm, add the tofu and soba noodles. Heat
through, add the scallions and place in a pot. Cover and serve. Makes 2-4
Note: This was designed as a vegetarian dish. You
may substitute chicken or shrimp for the tofu, if desired.