We all know that the food world has been changing for a while, and it seems like there are so many new diet fads or dietary restrictions that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. As a chef, it’s quite important to have the knowledge to create menus and meals while keeping in mind dietary restrictions that customers may have.
For an assignment at school, we were encouraged to choose a certain diet (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) and adhere to it for a week while keeping a daily journal of our thoughts and experiences.
As a daily meat eater, I knew it would be extremely difficult to maintain a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, so I chose to adhere to a pesco-vegetarian diet (while also eating dairy). I’m an avid seafood lover, so I figured this is one that I could seriously attempt to do for a week.
Breakfast: Egg-white omelet with spinach, onions, avocado
Lunch: Smoked-salmon bagel with herbed-cream cheese
Snack: Homemade hummus and raw vegetables
Dinner: Black cod with garlic-forbidden rice, ginger-edamame puree, bok choy
Breakfast: Steel-cut oats with mixed berries and low-fat Greek yogurt
Lunch: Kale & quinoa salad with carrots, onions, edamame beans, cilantro, with cilantro vinaigrette
Snack: Handful of nuts
Dinner: Trout baked in a salt crust with summer vegetables
Breakfast: Egg-white omelette with smoked salmon
Snack: Mixed fruit salad
Lunch: Left over salmon on a spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, with balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner: Shrimp stir fry with rice and fried egg
Breakfast: Low-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries and blackberries
Lunch: Avocado toast with radishes, jalapeno peppers, and microgreens
Dinner: Grilled tuna steaks with black rice
Snack: Granola bar
Breakfast: Poached eggs on an English muffin
Lunch: Asparagus, broccoli, and goat cheese frittata
Dinner: Summer salad with grilled peaches, radishes, and burrata cheese
I chose to adhere to the diet for 5 days, because I knew that on Saturday (Day 6), I would be attending a wedding where I had chosen the beef option months ago. And I have to say, I was so delighted to see a piece of tender, beef short rib on my plate!
I can honestly say that my day-to-day thoughts didn’t fluctuate much. I found it interesting to learn about new cooking techniques, for example, the salt-baked crust, and to simply eat a larger variety of seafood that I normally don’t. I was also spending more time looking at cookbooks, websites, magazines etc. to find inspiration. What I found most difficult about the experience was just simply remembering that I couldn’t eat meat products. But I think that stems from the fact that I don’t have anything against eating meat and this wasn’t a diet that I would choose to do myself. I often find myself reaching for a piece of leftover chicken for a snack without thinking twice. Subsequently, I don’t think this is something that I would continue in the future.
That being said, I would like to cut out more meat from my diet, and continue eating more seafood and plant-based proteins. I think that it would allow me to grow as a chef and learn to become more creative with dishes that I cook instead of going back to what I cook on a regular basis.
You can find a recipe for my favourite fish, Black Cod on a previous post: http://www.savourycellar.com/miso-glazed-black-cod/
All pictures were taken by me.