Here at Greatist, we’re passionate about making healthier choices easier. That’s why we go above and beyond to find you the best tips for healthier eating and living — and how to put those tips into action. Luckily, others are trying to do the same. Lean Cuisine has been creating lower-calorie frozen options for years, aiming to make healthy eating easier and cheaper for everyday folk. Next week, our health editor, Kate (that's me!), is heading out to see if they can back up the boast.
Lean Cuisine is getting ready to host one of its quarterly Culinary Roundtable sessions in Napa, CA. The two-day conference will be an opportunity for Lean Cuisine’s Culinary Innovation Team to develop new (top secret!) recipes and map out food trends for the coming year. I'll be along for the adventure, getting a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes from product sourcing to recipe development. We'll be visiting one of the many family farms that provide produce to Lean Cuisine and collaborating on new projects in the kitchens at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa.
So do their claims of "modern, healthy cuisine" live up to the hype? I’ll be walking the fields and working in the kitchen alongside Lean Cuisine’s Culinary Roundtable Chefs (see the all-star cast below) to find out. And, I'll get to see how the team goes about creating individual meals meant for millions of customers. So who’s going to be there? Take a look:
Michelle Bernstein: A James Beard Award Winner for “Best Chef South” in 2007, Bernstein's influences come from her Latin upbringing, French training, Asian travels, and love for Italian, Spanish, and Southern cuisine. Plus, she competed against Iron Chef Bobby Flay — and won.
Brad Farmerie: Farmerie is a Michelin-starred chef and executive chef at PUBLIC, The Monday Room, Madam Geneva, and Saxon + Parole in New York.
Paul Kahan: After growing up around his father’s delicatessen and smokehouse, Kahan is now executive chef at Chicago favorites The Publican, Big Star, Avec, and Blackbird.
Elizabeth Karmel: This so-called “Queen of Grill” raised on BBQ in North Carolina is executive chef at Hill Country BBQ (in DC and NYC) and Hill Country Chicken in New York.
Lior Lev Sercarz: After working for some of world’s most respected chefs, Lev Sercarz opened La Boite à Epice in New York, where he creates spice blends for chefs all over the country.
Earlier this week I spoke with the hosts of the event from Nestlè (parent company to Lean Cuisine), including Chef Lucien Vendôme (Nestle’s Culinary Innovation Director) who will serve as our “culinary guide” for the two-day trip. Vendôme explained we'll spend time in the kitchen with each chef, and while they're not sitting in front of the stove churning out every frozen meal, hopefully I'll learn a thing or two about their thought process while putting the recipes together. I’m looking forward to it, and can’t wait to share what I find with you afterwards, so stay tuned!
How to Follow Kate
Starting Tuesday morning, I’ll be tweeting (@ksmorin) and instagramming (username: kswanm) the days away, so feel free to follow me there to keep up with my adventures!
Have any questions you’re dying to know from these fabulous chefs? Send them my way on Twitter (@ksmorin) or leave them in the comments below!
Disclosure: Travel, accommodations, and all other arrangements to attend the Lean Cuisine Culinary Roundtable were paid in full by Lean Cuisine. As with all Greatist stories, any content we publish is independently written and never in exchange for goods or services.