It may not trip off the tongue, but SPE Certified (which stands for Sourcing, Preparation, and Enhancing) is a revolutionary company that works with restaurants like Rouge Tomate to create locally-sourced menus that are so delicious (ahem, Michelin star), you might forget they’re incredibly nutritious, too.
At its helm is executive chef Anthony Moraes, former sous chef at Danny Meyer’s vaunted Eleven Madison Park and a veritable wellness renaissance man. He’s opened two of his own restaurants in Newark, taught at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, and co-founded the Natural Training Center, which leads bootcamp-style sessions out in nature (with kettlebells, no less). Think wilderness survival camp with a side of serious cuisine.
So what does a health-minded chef par excellence eat to stay fit?
“My overall approach to my personal food lifestyle is plant based,” Moraes says. “But there are many times I have to visit client locations and try various dishes, so I can’t be fanatical about it.” We peeked into Moraes’ home fridge to see what he’s dishing out when he’s not in the test kitchen. Here’s what we found…
I spy not just one but several almond milk varieties on the top shelf. Almond milk is probably my favorite milk alternative. I make my own at home, but I also love the coconut-almond milk combination, or dark chocolate for a little treat. On occasion, I buy hemp milk as well.
You have a lot of beautiful veggies on the bottom shelf. Since sourcing locally is your passion, can you tell me where you got them? We recently hosted a tour of local farms for the SPE interns. We feel it’s important for culinary nutrition and dietitian students to further their education by understanding where and how our food is raised and cultivated. So I picked up those particular vegetables at one of them. They were turned into fresh juice!
What about the pineapple. How’d you eat it? I bought two the day before I took this photo—my wife juiced one, and we grilled the other. Pineapple has some amazing health benefits, and they smelled so good when I walked past them at Whole Foods.
I’m sensing a lack of meat in your diet. Any particular reason? I try to lead a plant-based lifestyle, but I do, on occasion, cook meat at home. When I do, I make sure it is from a very clean and sustainable source, humanely raised, and hormone- and antibiotic-free. I also pair it with lots of vegetables.
I see you’re a Chobani fan. What do you like about Greek yogurt? I recently attended the Healthy Flavors, Healthy Lives conference at the Culinary Institute of America. SPE Certified sponsored it—with Chobani—to teach doctors how to prepare healthy food and, in turn, teach their patients to do the same to prevent sickness and disease. I’m a big believer that yogurt’s good for you.
What about coconut water? Do you prefer it over the plain stuff? At the Natural Training Center, we participate in a lot of extreme sports events and intense kettlebell training. Coconut water is one of the best ways to replace electrolytes lost during intense physical activity. I never buy soda for the house, so coconut water is both our soda and our sports drink.
What’s your favorite dish to make at home? I love cooking breakfast for my family. Nothing beats waking up to a homemade, gourmet meal! A typical weekend breakfast would be eggs, tempeh bacon, fresh juice, sprouted grain bread toast with homemade jam, fair-trade, organic coffee or green tea, or some very tasty wholegrain pancakes with an organic maple syrup and fresh fruit. (And yes, the eggs are local, from a roadside farm stand in Hunterton County, New Jersey.) Now you’ve made me hungry! —Jamie McKillop
For more information on SPE Certified’s mission, visit www.specertified.com