June 3, 2006

Sportsmen and sportswomen can eat well in a restaurant

Thomas Kieller

Many sportsmen and sportswomen who would like to adopt a healthy lifestyle ask themselves if they should avoid restaurants or not. The answer is simple. Nobody should forego a wonderful culinary experience. The chefs like to prepare tasty dishes made with fresh and quality ingredients. However, one should know how to chose well and eat without exaggeration.

I recently visited Le Champlain restaurant located in the old part of Quebec, Canada to discuss healthy cuisine with Jean Soulard, the executive chef of the kitchens at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and to analyze the menu. I took the time to take a tour of the kitchens and the dining room of this establishment rated five stars by the newspaper "Voir".

Freshness and quality of the ingredients, a must

Chef Jean Soulard assures me that all the ingredients used in the different dishes of the Champlain are always fresh. Indeed, they do not skimp on freshness. Mr. Soulard takes the time to choose the food provided by the numerous suppliers. It’s a must for him. He makes it clear that to elaborate appreciated meals for the customers, one should have first and foremost good ingredients. Every chef of a restaurant will tell you that with good products you can conceive marvellous dishes.

Besides the freshness, it’s important to eat quality food. One should consider the nutritive proprieties of the ingredients that one eats in order to have all the elements that the body needs. Robert Gagnon, the chef of Le Champlain restaurant, obviously tries to bring out the taste and quality of the food in all the dishes that he prepares. The menu shows it. The "caribou fillet from Nunavut, caramelized pink grapefruit and melted Ciel de Charlevoix cheese" or the "piglet with chicoutai glaze, yellow potato and mini-ratatouille" have wonderful nutritive qualities. Nevertheless, whatever the main dish is, one should look for sufficient portions of vegetables and cereal products. It’s not always the case in restaurants.

To choose well is to read the menu well

Choosing is obviously the key element to a good diet in restaurants. Examine the menu attentively and do not hesitate to question the waiter about the different dishes. In the Champlain menu, good choices are not lacking. For example, the dish made of "Butternut squash cannelloni with scampi, coco milk, leek juliennes with mascarpone and pear syrup" is a hot appetizer that you are attracted to; ask the waiter if the noodles are made with whole wheat. Do not hesitate to ask the cooking method of a dish. The more you will be informed, the easier your choice will be.

The stomach, the customer’ Achilles’ heel

Even if a visit to a good restaurant is an extraordinary culinary experience, one should listen to his body concerning the moment that one feels full. We are aware; the portions are generally too generous in restaurants. Leaving food on the plate is permissible! Besides that, when you make your choice, you can accompany the main dish with a good vegetable soup or with an appetizer. The table d’hôte is not always a must when we go to the restaurant.

Let’s go

Eating well in restaurants is choosing dishes made with fresh ingredients and which have interesting nutritive proprieties for the body. It’s opting for a cooking method which puts the quality of the food foremost. To achieve this, we should read the menu carefully and we should discuss the menu’s content with the waiter. The greatest challenge is to eat to one’s fill without going beyond one’s limits. Sportsmen and sportswomen should have gastronomic adventures. They should not deprive themselves of this. Restaurants are places where we can discover new tastes and where we can enjoy exquisite dishes made by chefs who like to surpass themselves. Sportsmen and sportswomen allow yourselves to taste the pleasures of restaurants.