The Chef

Man in the Mirror

Now that hopefully you’ve seen the Mack & Mateo episode, I plan over the next few blogs to fill in any missing pieces that could not fit into the story during the 43 minute episode.  A lot transpired over four months.  I appreciate all of the facebook and instagram requests.  Many of your questions about the process will be answered in these posts as I try to chronicle my fat to fit journey.

The first step in trying to institute change in your life is to take a serious look in the mirror.  Almost as a daily and nightly ritual, I look in the mirror and ask these questions.

What do I see?

Did I do my best today?

Do I want to change?

The Chef

Fit to Fat to Fit Journey Post Show Big Ups

Now that you have seen the show, you must know that none of it could be possible without the hard work and dedication of all the members of the production crew who spent countless hours chronicling and filming the journey.  The struggle is real for everyone!

A Special Thanks to Helen for always pushing me psychologically and helping me to figure myself out.

Super Kudos to Mira for stepping in and doing a great job for the closing shoot while Helen was doing her thing.

Big ups to Johnno for making me look so good on camera with the slim angle lens.

Props to James for catching all the nonsense that came out of my mouth and finding creating ways of attaching my mic to my girth.

Shouts to Rohit, Maritza, Michelle, Shannon and Alex for all the little things required on those long shoots.

And sexy peanut butter mercy buckups to the indefatigable Queen Bea for her absolute professionalism and dedication to the project.  I couldn’t have asked for a cooler person to film the day to day nuances of my life.

Attached are some judo practice pics!

Also, let me know what you think about the show.  I will try to fill in the blanks in the coming month, as you can only get a slice of what happened during that four month pie from the show.

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The Chef

Fit to Fat to Fit

On Tuesday, February 23rd, A & E network will be broadcasting a reality fitness show, “Fit to Fat to Fit“, that I participated in for four months in 2015.

As a food and wine professional, I find it difficult to schedule time for regular exercise.  I work evenings, and often the demands of running my own business superceded any ideas of fitness.  Couple that to unlimited access to food and wine, and you have a recipe for disaster.

I have always struggled with my weight, but have managed to keep myself in decent shape through martial arts.  But it is hard to train at the dojo when the schedule doesn’t coincide, and the joints hurt, especially due to obesity.   My love of food and wine and the pursuit of all things delicious was never kept in check.  The result was 316 pounds and an inability to dig out of a huge hole.  Add the number 45 (age)to the equation, and I just couldn’t turn on the weight loss like I had during the glory days of training for past judo tournaments.

“Fit to Fat to Fit” provided me with a trainer, a gym, and other resources to help me get in shape.  The most important factor was my trainer Katie Mack, who reprogrammed me so that I could live a lifestyle that worked for me after the show concluded.  She was my information, inspiration and motivation.

In the show she gains weight to be empathetic towards her client (me).  We struggled through life’s challenges and lost the weight together.  But what inspired me most was the connection we made and the bond we formed.  She cared about me and I cared about her.  The weight loss was just a byproduct of hard work, dedication and our relationship.

The most important ingredient is caring.  Caring about yourself, first and foremost, and caring about being alive and healthy for others.  In my case,  my brother, mother, family, friends, and my fiance (Michelle is 15 years younger) were the reasons I stuck to it.

I will continue the dialogue about my journey, and hopefully answer any questions you may have.

Tune in Tuesday night, and drop me a line, or stop into Pata Negra so we can toast.

Eat & Drink Life!







Cooking Drinking Eating The Chef Travel Wine

The $1,000. Steak


New York is renowned as a premier destination for a classic steakhouse. Whenever foreign winemakers come to visit the Big Apple on wine business, I usually field requests for the best beef restaurants. While it is true that the home cook now has access to a variety of top pedigree beef, ranging from naturally grass fed to dry aged, the options at restaurants are much more problematic. Aside from the exorbitant costs, especially comparing what you can get for the home kitchen versus what you are actually paying for at a steakhouse, there are other pitfalls to consider as well.

Wine lists are generally unimaginative and rocket juice oriented. If there are gems on the list, they are too far and few between, creating a dilemma of agony over the correct wine pairings and strategy. Stylistically there is little imagination or variation, often a who’s who of cult cabernets or expensive super Tuscans, Burgundy or Bordeaux wines that are nowhere near ready to drink.

Experiences The Chef

East Village Erupts

By now you probably know about the huge explosion that rocked the East Village on March 26th, claiming the lives of two people and injuring several others, not to mention the destruction of three buildings.

Preliminary reports point to plumbing without a proper permit resulting in reckless safety measures and a gas explosion.

Could this tragedy have been avoided?  Sure.  But that would take a series of policy changes this city has yet to address even under the esteemed former Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure.

Many NYC buildings are over fifty or sixty years old or more, and are patched together every day by less than professional or approved workers, just to keep the building functioning.  Landlords charge exorbitant rents to their tenants, both residential and commercial, but refuse to update outdated infrastructure with the profits.  The city in turn collects enormous taxes from these landlords and commercial tenants via real estate taxes and spends those funds elsewhere.  The monies could be used to enforce stricter measures against these landlords to ensure that all buildings are up to date and following all safety codes.