These days, when many chefs are sourcing locally and seasonally, and abiding by sustainable practices, they may believe they are cooking healthy meals, says Emmanuel Verstraeten, founder and CEO of SPE Certified® (see feature story). “While [sustainability] is an appropriate first step, it is not sufficient to close the loop on delivering nutritionally balanced, great-tasting dishes. What is missing is a culinary approach to nutrition whereby dishes are created to deliver the maximum in nutrient density, while retaining every ounce of deliciousness and taste. This is the piece of the puzzle that SPE Certified so uniquely provides,” he says.
Rather than “demonizing” ingredients such as butter, cream and sugar, SPE challenges chefs to work differently. In fact, the SPE charter doesn’t limit chefs with regard to ingredients; it simply guides them to use certain components in moderation. Bottom line, says Verstraeten, “Our goal is not to eliminate the status quo, but to provide guests with a sustainable, healthy and nutritionally balanced alternative. It’s all about increasing the options available when dining out.”
See how SPE Certified’s executive chef Anthony Moraes uses the SPE tenets to build flavor while maintaining health in this month’s recipe.
1½ C kale, destemmed, tightly packed
¾ C walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1½ T lemon juice
½ C Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
1/3 C olive oil
Recipe Key: C = cup; T = tablespoon
Source: Anthony Moraes, executive chef, SPE Certified.