Eating local the healthy way
Chef Wan goes organic and shows that eating healthy can still be delicious.
TH HE last few years have been pretty hectich for Datuk Redzuawan Ism mail, better known as Chef Wan. He e travelled the world promoting his s work, spearheaded new projec cts at home and crafted ideas for his s upcoming television show.
ButB that is not all. Chef Wan also did d something else during that busy per riod – he put on a lot of weight.
“I couldn’t even spruce up my gar rden at home without breaking in nto buckets of sweat,” he laments.l
As much as he wants to blame his erratic schedule for his weight woes, Chef Wan knows that the onus is on him to care for his well- being.
Besides, the popular chef and cook show host doesn’t have to look far for a reminder to eat better.
“My late father was diabetic and lost a leg due to the disease.e He then had a stroke an nd passed away in 2012. I do on’t want to suffer the sam me fate as him,” he says.
ChefC Wan knows that he has s to get his act sorted and thu us he has begun his journey y to better health from wh here he is the most comfor rtable – the kitchen.
SoS does that mean no moremo santan – which has about 35 calories in a tablespoon ( 15g) – in rendang, nasi lemak,
sweet desserts and kuih for Chef Wan?
According to him, that is a big, fat yes.
That is quite rich, given that Chef Wan made his name, and wealth, making and promoting exactly those mouth- watering and fattening food items on his television series and cookbooks all these years.
“I know that those are the types of food that I created and promoted. But I have gotten older, and I have to start thinking about my health. I have come to that age. As a chef, I understand my responsibility to promote healthy eating habits, and it starts with me.”
Chef Wan also calls out on folks who dismiss healthy eating simply because it is pricier.
“Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Unless you have a garden at home that grows all the vegetables you want, or a farmf thath givesi you fresh milk every morning, you cannot escape having to spend a bit more to eat healthy nowadays.”
“It is better to pay now for your health, than later ( for
your medical bills) when you are bed- ridden and feeling awful. Be wise with your eating habits, it will help prolong your life.”
Chef Wan says that while one can control what goes into their food at home, the same discipline sometimes cannot be maintained outside. He says that we are surrounded by calorie- laden, sweet, oily and unhealthy food all the time.
“Even when you tell the waiters that you want your drinks less sweet or your food less oily, they still somehow come out sweet and oily. You cannot always dictate how the cook prepares your food and what goes into it,” he says.
“I am not saying that you should totally cut out local fare. But it is important that if you decide to eat healthy, there are places for you to do so,” he explains.
So when BMS Organics came knocking with a new collaboration, Chef Wan knew that it was an opportunity not to be missed. This was his chance to show consumers that food, even local favourites like nasi lemak and curry laksa can be prepared the healthy way and be easily available.
BMS Organics is a leading organic health food proponent and supplier with 43 outlets around the country. Nineteen of these outlets are equipped with adjoining cafes that serve food made in a healthy manner.
With Chef Wan on board, healthy becomes delicious as well. The company approached the chef to collaborate with their kitchen to create dishes that would be both tasty and beneficial.
“Healthy food has a negative connotation; the perception is that it can never taste as good as ‘ normal’ food. My honest belief is that it all depends on how you prepare the food. Of course it is going to taste different but it definitely is the healthier option,” says Chef Wan.
He gives a healthy twist to three local favourites on BMS Organics’ menu by substituting some of the original ingredients with organic products.
“I use organ-
chef Wan is working on creating more healthy dishes in the future and is already practising this new ideology in his daily life.