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The Cuisine of Well-being
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Healthful recipes from Chef Michel Nischan

Track Your Plaque expert Chef Michel Nischan never intended to become a guru of gourmet health.  Yet this May, he will be honored by the American Heart Association for his work.

By his own admission, Nischan zig-zagged to his present stature as celebrated super-chef, frequent guest on the Oprah show and other popular media, after his modest upbringing in the rural Midwest, then training in traditional French cooking. But Nischan has become celebrated for evolving his own special brand of healthy cooking prepared with flare and style.

“I never intended the pursuit of healthful, organic cooking to be my lifelong endeavor, much less my passion. But I am passionate about it: passionate about achieving balance in every meal, about eating what is ripe and best in its season, and about enjoying the pure pleasure of eating simply and well.”

The inspiration to explore cooking for the sake of well-being came in 1994 from his son Chris who, at age five, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (Another son, Ethan, was also recently diagnosed at age 3). 

“Chris’s illness made me realize that floating on foie gras and bathing in butter might not be in the best interest of my customers."

Author of the hit James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Taste: Pure and Simple—irresistible recipes for good food and good health, Nischan is credited with creating a “cuisine of well-being.” His creations focus on a respect for pure, local, organic ingredients and their intense flavors, without the use of highly processed ingredients.

More recently, Nischan has teamed up with actor and philanthropist Paul Newman to open Dressing Room–A Homegrown Restaurant in September, 2006, located on the grounds of the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. In May, 2006, he also opened Pure, in Mumbai, India, the first western restaurant of well-being to ever open in India. Michel designed and developed the concept for this organic and sustainable farming focused restaurant. His most recent cookbook is Homegrown: Pure and Simple—Great healthy food from garden to table, in which Nischan returns to the country cooking of his youth but enriched with his characteristic spark.

Chef Nischan has generously provided Track Your Plaque Members with a bounty of wonderful recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His recipes usually range in difficulty from simple to complex. Here, he’s chosen 11 dishes that range from extremely simple (Lightly salted edamame), to moderately detailed (Pan-toasted garlic and wilted spinach soup); none are difficult. All are delicious!

For more on Michel Nischan and his wonderfully unique philosophy of food and eating, go to  

Editor’s note: Most of Michel’s recipes use salt for taste. Eliminate the salt, of course, if you have reason to limit salt, especially water retention, kidney disease, edema, hypertension, or if you’ve been prescribed a diuretic. A non-sodium salt substitute is an alternative.

Here are the recipes along with Chef Nischan's commentary.

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