Chef Gale Gand: Starting the New Year Sweetly and Healthfully

Ellen Haas Health Guide

    Award winning pastry chef Gale Gand combines her artistic skills with a passion for good, healthy food. She is nationally recognized for her playful dessert creations that can be found in the Chicago area restaurants that she owns with partner chef Rick Tramonto. Her desserts are showcased at Tru, Cenitare and several other top restaurants. In addition, she hosts a TV show, Sweet Dreams on the Food Network and has written four books including her latest Chocolate and Vanilla (2006).


    Gale is a devoted Mom and loves to cook for - and with - her 3 children. Gio (11), Ella and Ruby (3) are learning the joys of cooking from her. As a founding member of FoodFit's Chef Network, Gale has a strong commitment to nurturing her family with healthy, seasonal food.

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    Though she is so busy with so many projects, Gale values balance in her life and putting her family first. Her thoughts about how to begin 2008 with a healthy start are an inspiration to everyone. She sat down with me at Ellen's Healthy Table to talk about delicious, dessert ideas that are perfect for the New Year and how wonderful it is to cook with her children.


    EH: How can desserts be a part of your New Year's Resolutions to have a healthier lifestyle?


    GG: I believe that moderation is important and if you satisfy people's tastes by keeping the portions small then desserts fit in a healthy lifestyle. My book - Gale Gand's Just a Bite - presents wonderful desserts and shows how good it is to keep your portions small for good health. For the long-term, it is good to have sustainable eating habits so that you are satisfied. The body needs a little sugar and it helps us to feel satisfied.


    EH: Why do you think that cooking with your children is a positive learning experience for them? What are the favorites of your son Georgio and your little twin daughters, Ella and Ruby?


    GG: There are so many ways that children learn from cooking. They learn math, science, nurturing people and the great feeling you get from feeding others. Georgio loves to cook and has been doing it since he was small. It has built his self-esteem and confidence He loves to make breakfast and his favorite thing to cook is an omelet. At our house we love to have breakfast for dinner. He also loves to roll out pasta. Even the twins, Ella and Ruby love to make cookie batter and they are just 3.


    EH: What are your favorite light and healthy desserts you recommend to start off the New Year?


    GG: I love to incorporate, fresh, seasonal fruit with dairy so I can get the calcium I need. Fresh ricotta cheese with fresh cherries in syrup is simply good. Also a blueberry compote over fromage blance (it has no fat) is easy and eye-catching. I also enjoy freezing citrus sections like oranges or grapefruits that have been cut from the white membrane. I lay the fruit on wax paper and put it on a flat tray in the freezer. The next day I pile the frozen sections in a glass bowl of lemon sorbet - everyone loves it.


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    Here is a preview of a recipe to start off the New Year in style. Chef Gale Gand shares one of the desserts she is famous for and that is not only healthy, but also elegant and very light. Pineapple Carpaccio is a show-stopper at Ellen's Healthy Table.

Published On: January 03, 2008

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