Six top Australian chefs shared their secrets of staying fit and healthy in an industry with a reputation for being the opposite. Attica’s Ben Shewry has gone down a vegan path, and become a passionate kickboxer, the Merivale group’s Dan Hong is a devotee of F45 interval training. All of them have swapped a diet of snacking on fat-laden kitchen favourites to lean, green food. We felt compelled to ask them to share some of their go-to, healthful faves.
Ben Shewry’s fitness salad
Attica’s Ben Shewry shares his salad, which he had just knocked up for lunch from what he had on hand. “Every day I make it differently, and sub in different vegies and dressings. Often it has a fermented edge with kimchi or sauerkraut, it just depends on what I have at hand. It makes me feel good and I can balance out my eating if I eat this way most of the time. It means if I want to indulge a little tonight I can without beating myself up.”
150g chickpea miso (I use Meru brand)
30g cold-pressed walnut oil
35g lime juice
big pinch of dill and parsley, shredded (6g each)
6 lebanese cucumbers, sliced
6 free-range eggs, soft-boiled for seven minutes
salt and hot sauce to taste (I use Frank’s RedHot brand)
100g walnuts, lightly burnt with blowtorch (or lightly toasted)
1. Combine miso, walnut oil, water and lime juice in a bowl and whisk to make dressing.
2. Place shredded dill, parsley and cucumber in a large bowl and add dressing and a small pinch of salt. Toss gently and transfer to a plate.
3. Cut eggs in half and season with salt and a few drops of hot sauce. Place the egg halves on top of the cucumbers and finish with walnuts. Serve immediately.
Chicken, kohlrabi and zucchini soup
The Paddington and Hotel Centennial chef Ben Greeno created this delicious post-workout meal in collaboration with his personal trainer, Blake Worrall-Thompson.
4 chicken thighs, skin-on
1 small kohlrabi
1 bunch watermelon radish
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for serving
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch large-leaf rocket
1 bunch sorrel
Few sprigs of herbs such as coriander, chives and chervil
1 litre hot chicken broth (either homemade or good quality store-bought)
chilli oil (optional)
1. Grill chicken thighs skin-side down in hot pan until cooked through, flipping over onto flesh for the last minute of cooking.
2. Thinly shave kohlrabi, radish and zucchinis. Combine in a bowl and dress with lemon juice, olive oil and a good pinch of salt. You want to vegetables to break down and wilt a little bit.
3. Wash watercress, rocket and sorrel and combine them into a bundle.
4. Poach eggs using your preferred method and place each egg in a separate serving bowl.
5. Divide vegetables, leaves and herbs between each bowl. Slice chicken thigh into bite-sized pieces and divide between bowls. Fill bowls with hot chicken broth and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or chilli oil if using.
Roasted cauliflower with buttermilk and tahini dressing
What could George Calombaris do for an encore after creating Australia’s most popular recipe, Cypriot grain salad? Travis McAuley, who came up with that dish, offers this whole roasted cauliflower, already a hit at Melbourne’s four Hellenic Republic restaurants.
1 whole cauliflower, leaves still intact
50ml extra virgin olive oil
flaked sea salt to taste
60g Greek yoghurt
juice of half a lemon
1. Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced).
2. Wet two pieces of baking paper large enough to completely wrap the cauliflower. Lay one sheet across one another to enclose the cauliflower. Rinse the cauliflower and place onto the centre of the two sheets. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and season with the flaked sea salt. Bring up the edges to completely encase the cauliflower and tie with string. Roast for 55 minutes or until skewer inserts easily into the core.
3. To make the dressing whisk together the buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice, honey and tahini in a small bowl until smooth. Season to taste.
4. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and increase oven temperature to 220C. Cut the string from the package, opening up the baking paper to expose the cauliflower. Spoon over half of the dressing and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven, spoon over the remaining dressing, return to the oven and bake cauliflower for further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. To serve, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and cut into quarters.