It’s no secret that the life of a chef, and especially elite chefs, isn’t always the healthiest. Nearly nocturnal hours and busy shifts without time for breaks often means grabbing bites of food here and there without much thought for nutrition. After years of living like that, chef Gregory Gourdet realized he needed a change. He started with getting sober, and his health journey continued from there.
That first change turned into a full lifestyle overhaul: from a life of partying to a lifestyle of paleo dieting, marathons, and mindfulness. “When I finally got sober, I kind of wanted to change so many parts about me,” he tells mindbodygreen, “I had a lot of energy that I needed to replace with positive, healthy, healing things.” In large part, that experience helped inspire his new cookbook, titled Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health.
“I think whether you’re on an alternative diet or not, people just generally want to eat better, and they don’t want to feel restricted,” he says. “For me, I can literally eat like a huge piece of fish or half a chicken and some greens and be completely happy. It’s really about filling up on the good stuff.”
The ingredients he adds to almost every dish.
There are two ingredients that Gourdet adds to nearly everything he cooks, for their bold flavor and health benefits.
“Ginger is something that is always in my pantry. It’s an ingredient that’s actually in the food of a lot of different cuisines,” he says. “It’s delicious; it adds brightness; it adds depth; it adds complexity. Chilies are the other thing that I really don’t cook without,” he laughs. “Literally, every dish I make has chilies.”
Truly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recipe that doesn’t use at least one, and, in most cases, both, of these anti-inflammatory aromatics. Even in a chapter aptly titled “Eggs All the Time,” you’ll find ginger and chilies featured in some surprising dishes (think breakfast).
Research suggests that both ginger and chilies have inflammation-fighting abilities and compounds, among other benefits. Ginger has well-documented health perks including supporting digestion and promoting healthy blood sugar levels.
“A few simple steps transform ho-hum sautéed greens into this unforgettable one-pot dish,” writes Gourdet of this recipe in his book, “perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and other good stuff, collards, chard, and kale can taste a little too healthy. They need a boost.” That boost comes from the aromatics (which also includes garlic here) and plenty of olive oil, plus “a last-minute dose of fresh herbs” to help cut through the satisfying richness that baking the eggs and greens provides.
From the book Everyone’s Table by Gregory Gourdet and J.J. Goode. Copyright © 2021 by Gregory Gourdet and J.J. Goode. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.