How Do Celebrity Chefs Stay Slim?

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Greg Wallace

Greg Wallace – “People say to me ‘Life’s too short to be on a diet’. I say to them ‘mate, life’s too short not to feel and look this good!’”

Have you noticed that a majority of celebrity chefs are in pretty good shape? British chefs such as Delia Smith, Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsey, James Martin, Rachel Allen, Oz Clarke, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – they are all relatively slim. American celebrity chefs also stay in good shape. Rocco DiSpirito, Richard Blais, Ronnie Killen and Elizabeth Falkner have all lost weight while cheffing. Some celebrity chefs do get a little overweight, some more than others, but on the whole they are pretty good role models. They know how to cook healthy food, use fresh ingredients too. So, how do they do it? We have an idea of chefs all being overweight, eating all day long. But this is simply not true.

“Being a chef is difficult because when you should be eating you are serving people”. – Ronnie Killen

However, just like everyone else, chefs do have to work at staying in shape. This does not mean they all workout, but they have to be careful with what they eat, eat moderately and be sensible. Some chefs do make the headlines when it comes to healthy living and weight loss. Some chefs use the healthy eating line to help promote their products too. Let’s take a look at a few.

Gregg Wallace – The MasterChef

First up is a surprise one. Gregg Wallace, who is one of the presenters and judges on the popular UK cooking program Master Chef, has recently become the British face of Weight Watchers after he lost a stone (14 pounds) in 12 weeks by following advice from Weight Watchers Online and used their ProPoints system to count calories and help manage his eating. Part of his weight loss plan included regular gym sessions.


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“I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time. I finally got fed up with seeing myself as the tubby bloke on telly. At first I tried to lose weight on my own but it was very slow. With WeightWatchers things fell into place. I realised that, while I knew a lot about food, I knew nothing about nutrition. I eat out every day so if I can lose weight, anyone can.” – Gregg Wallace

After his weight loss success, Weight Watchers asked him to become their celebrity representative. He is the first chef to win this role.

Other celebs that have used Weight Watchers include Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Osbourne and Jessica Simpson.

Gary Rhodes

Gary Rhodes

Gary Rhodes in 2006.

Gary Rhodes is one of Britain’s top chefs. He is also very slim. How does he do it? He pumps irons! Gary Rhodes uses bodybuiding to stay in excellent shape. Bodybuidling is possibly ideal for chefs – you can use the food you eat to provide energy for exercise and protein for muscle growth. Although some care with regards to nutrition is needed, if you do big workouts you will burn the fat.

Gary has a home gym in his basement where he can perform weight training, pull-ups and bodyweight exercises. He trains for one hour every day. He has been exercising for years, he says that it is his addiction. There was a time that Gary was out of shape though. But not overweight – he was losing weight. The energy required to run 8 restaurants was literally wearing him down. Some people stop eating when over-worked and stress, and Gary seems to be one of them. Bodybuilding meant that he had to sort his diet out to ensure he was getting all the nutrition that his body required to grow fitter and stronger.


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Gary is not perfect though. Most of his work is on his upper body, he admits that he has neglected his legs a little. In fact, Mrs. Rhodes refers to his legs as Twiglets!

Ronnie Killen

Ronnie Killen is an award winning chef who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London and runs Killen’s Steakhouse. In June 2012 it was reported that he lost over 200 pounds with some simple lifestyle changes. In 2009 he weighed 455 pounds. It took 3 years for him to lose the weight, but he never gave up and is now in great shape. His tips are:

  • Do not saute, always grill.
  • Do not add sauce.
  • Don’t clean your plate in restaurants – they serve too much food.
  • Keep the food simple – avoid food with more than 5 ingredients.

Reducing fat and sugar helps reduce calories. Frying = fat and sauces are high in unnecessary calories. These simple dietary changes combined with the all important exercise helped Ronnie lose over 200 pounds.

Rocco DiSpirito

Rocco DiSpirito was a chef in love with fat. He explained how he used to invent new ways of adding fat to food to improve the flavor, such as adding goose fat to fish and adding butter to foie gras. However, a trip to the doctors revealed he was suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure) and he was advised to cut back on saturated fat and sugar, and to start exercising.

The result was that Rocco lost 40 pounds and dropped his body fat percentage from 20% down to 11%. Rocco appeared on The Biggest Loser to share his story and has since written a book, The Now Eat This! Diet, and has transformed himself from an overweight chef in love with fatty food into an advocate for healthy eating.

Rocco has been presented with several awards over the years, including America’s Best New Chef in 1999, winner of the Winner James Beard Award: Best Cookbook in 2004, and in 2002 was declared the Sexiest Chef Alive by People Magazine.

So, there are just a few. The purpose of this article really is simple. It proves the following:

  • Being surrounded by food does not make you fat – eating it does
  • Busy people can make the time to exercise
  • Working evenings and night shifts does not automatically cause weight gain
  • Everyone can lose weight – even chefs who weigh over 400 pounds!
Hopefully this article will inspire you to start living a healthier lifestyle – learn to cook well, but also learn about nutrition. Do not believe everything you read online about nutrition (many people are promoting diets high in saturated fat at the moment – be careful!). Get active – exercise daily if possible, and work out a way to fit exercise around your hectic schedule. If Gary Rhodes can exercise for an hour a day while running 8 restaurants, so can you.

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