Sam Talbot is a former contestant on the Bravo TV show Top Chef and author of a new cookbook, The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries. Sam spoke to ChopChop about his new book, living with diabetes and the work he does to help kids eat healthy!
You were diagnosed with diabetes when you were 11. How has it changed your diet and the way you eat?
Diabetes affects your pancreas so you no longer make insulin. I was diagnosed at age 11. I realized at a young age the direct correlation of blood sugar levels and what food raised or spiked my sugars, or what stabilized them and kept them healthy. I eat fresh seasonal vegetables simply prepared with beautiful roasted or grilled proteins. Low fat/low carb, high flavor.
How has being a chef affected the healthy choices you make?
Being a chef is what drives me. It keeps me balanced and whole. To stay balanced and healthy I eat options that make sense for me and that's always what's in season and freshly grown or caught.
What are some of your favorite recipes from your book?
My two favorites are the blackened chicken with couscous and the clam chowder. Both really unique dishes packed with flavor and familiar ingredients, just presented in a different more modern manner by adjusting the recipe to using some healthier alternative ingredients rather than cream or white flour.
You’ve worked with the charity Wellness in the Schools and have participated in the Kids Food Festival. What has it been like to work with these charities?
Last year I was a guest chef at a school in the upper west side and it was an incredible experience. My work with WITS has been such a blast - the reward of seeing and feeding all of those children and watching they're facial expressions when I speak about food or hearing they're thoughts on food really keeps me grounded and reminds me that giving back and embracing community makes all the difference in the world. It’s very important to me because I am greatly concerned about the ever-increasing incidents of childhood diabetes, which I believe is in part tied to diet.
Last fall I participated in the Kids Food Festival in NYC, a weekend event focusing on educating families about making balanced food choices through fun and flavorful activities. They have some great partners including the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength, which is a national organization working to end childhood hunger in the United States. It’s an honor for me anytime I can get in front of families and children to educate them about making smart and healthy decisions and I look forward to continuing to do that in the future.
To learn more about Sam and his new book visit http://www.samtalbot.com/