With all the amazing and delicious food around New York City, it can sometimes be tough to keep your fitness resolutions. Never fear, because we have some expert advice for you.
Chef Amy Eubanks has had quite the career so far. At the tender age of 30, she has already earned three stars from the New York Times at one of the city’s most cherished dining destinations. She started at the work-study program at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now the Institute of Culinary Education), and began splitting her time between the classroom and Marc Murphy’s kitchen at La Fourchette, a two-star restaurant on the Upper East Side. After completing the work-study, Eubanks sought out an externship at Cello, where she first met Chef Laurent Tourondel. Anxious to expand her understanding of fine dining, Eubanks left Cello to work garde manger at Café Boulud. She left her mark on this acclaimed kitchen, becoming the first female in the history of the restaurant to work the protein station. Her stretch lasted more than two years before returning to Tourondel’s kitchen as lead cook at BLT Steak. She stayed on for nine months while awaiting the opening of BLT Fish where she started as Sous Chef. After a year of diligent service and imaginative interpretation of the esteemed menu, Eubanks was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in March of 2006. Four years later in March of 2010, she was promoted to Executive Chef.
We sat down with Chef Eubanks to discuss how to stay fit while still living your fabulous NYC life.
Amy Eubanks, Executive Chef
Do you think it’s possible to eat delicious food and stay in shape at the same time?
Of course. A healthy diet is all about balance. Eating lightly prepared seafood and a balance of fruits and vegetables is a delicious way to stay in shape. When dining out, ask that your foods be cooked in olive oil instead of butter and look for flavor in the form of spices or pickled garnishes which add flavor without fat.
Are there certain dishes at your restaurant that are specifically best for health?
Any of BLT Fish’s raw dishes, including the tuna tartare, the steelhead trout carpaccio and the hamachi are great options for your health. Raw foods maintain their nutrients and by not cooking them, less fat and oils are needed. For an entree, the black dod is a light option as it is broiled rather than seared. For a whole fish, I would recommend BLT Fish’s salt-crusted pink snapper in which the whole fish is steamed inside a salt crust.
What are your favorite healthy dishes?
I spend most of my time at the vegetable stations, and when I am hungry, I select my snacks from there. I am particularly fond of BLT Fish’s sautéed kale and cauliflower with sprinkled feta cheese that can be ordered as a side dish. I also love the raw hamachi, which is served with pickled mango, sliced radishes and Persian cucumbers marinated in Meyer lemon juice and served with a white soy dressing.
Any tips for those looking to cook healthy at home?
Sweet potatoes are amazing foods packed with nutrients and they are so easy to cook. I like to keep them on hand for a light snack, either baked and drizzled with olive oil or a sprinkle of brown sugar and cayenne pepper or diced and sautéed in olive oil. I also keep salad greens around my house that I dress with toasted almonds or walnuts. I always find that the best way to eat healthy at home is to stock your house with healthy options and always shop on a full stomach so you don’t buy foods you don’t really need.
BLT Fish is located at 21 W. 17th St., 212.691.8888.
Check out the first part of our the Get Healthy series with Chef Michael Psilakis of Kefi.
And be sure to check back Monday for our third part of the series with Michael Cressotti, the corporate executive chef at Mermaid Inn.