Nutrition AND Taste

This weekend I’m participating in the first national Nutritarian Cook-Off here in Aspen. 

The cook-off will be held at the Aspen Club from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, and dishes will be judged for flavor by the general public and for nutritional value by a panel of local nutritionists, Dr. Joel Fuhrman (best-selling author of Eat to Live) and John Mackey (co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market).

Tonight is the gala dinner, and I’m serving up the first course. It’s my heirloom tomato salad featuring a hempseed vinaigrette and tomato terrine.

What do you think?

For the tasting tomorrow, I’ll be serving an heirloom tomato terrine with thistle whistle collard greens and chia seed. The collard greens come from the Paonia area and are very high in anti-oxidants. They are young greens and don’t require hours of cooking like some collard greens do. The entire dish is vegan, and the chia seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Our dishes will be judged on both flavor and nutritional content, so my strategy is to focus on seasonality. What’s in season tastes best, and my challenge was to take out fattening ingredients and replace them with healthy items that still have flavor.

For example, I’d normally reach for an extra virgin olive oil for a salad, but the hemp oil has a nuttier taste and is healthier. So far, preparing for the Nutritarian Festival has been a great exercise in rethinking ingredients like butter and replacing them with flavorful alternatives and adding texture in a healthy way (like the Chia seeds).

For more details, or for tickets, click here. And wish me luck!

Chef Robert

Executive Chef Robert McCormick took the helm at Montagna in April, 2011. Having worked at some of the top restaurants in the country, McCormick has an extensive background in refined culinary environments. He spent five years with Daniel Boulud as corporate sous chef and helped open The Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn, where he and his team earned one Michelin star.  Other highlights include time with Michelle Richard at Citronelle in Washington, DC, three years with Guenter Seeger and a stint at the five diamond Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. He is the seventh executive chef in the history of The Little Nell.