It’s been over a couple weeks since the Fit to Fight Challenge closing event and final weigh-in party hosted by Fit to Fight by MIC regional captain Chef Jamie DeRosa at his restaurant Tongue & Cheek. The affair was as casual as a family gathering, as the chefs celebrated their journeys over healthy bites and drinks; including a refreshing and crisp cocktail by Sugarcane Raw Bar’s Timon Balloo made with Voli vodka, fresh watermelon juice, agave nectar, a ruby red grapefruit slice and fresh mint.
Before disclosing the results, and just in case you’ve been living under a gastronomical rock (or don’t follow Miami’s top chefs on social media…tsk tsk), the Fit to Fight Miami Challenge launched this past summer June 30th, and enlisted 12 of Miami’s most prominent chefs in a 12-week weight loss challenge that raised funds for Live To Fight--a non-profit organization that supports individuals with life-threatening illnesses.
The challenge included weekly workouts at local gyms, like SobeKick and Flywheel, alongside the aid of personal trainers and nutritionists who motivated the chefs throughout their journeys. To our delight, their encouragement also reached us directly, as they shared their newfound knowledge through healthy menu items in their respective eateries, as well as cooking classes and special dinner events.
We weren’t surprised when they announced Tim Andriola as the biggest loser of the challenge. Earlier in the year the chef had already inspired many to take on smarter eating habits when he opened his healthy eatery Basil Park, neighboring its sister, popular Mediterranean restaurant, Timo.
People have a misconception of what eating healthy entails, but Basil Park has proven that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to make the right choices. The concept was born after Andriola took a nutrition class two years ago that changed the way he perceived food, “It’s just something that I am really passionate about now and this competition really gave me the discipline to apply it in all aspects of my life, and put all the pieces together” he explains.
The menu packs punches of delight in every bite blending multicultural techniques with locally sourced and unprocessed ingredients. It’s hard to believe that the majority of the dishes are dairy and gluten free, “100% that the food we serve at Basil Park is the right food for your body, we have one whole-wheat pita on the menu that has flour in it, but aside from that we try to stick to foods that our bodies thrive on.”
Having the right information on how to approach food is an important aspect of any weight loss approach, but it was the physical fitness regimen that helped the chef lose the extra 28lbs. that got him ahead of his colleagues. Chefs Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar) and Todd Erickson (Haven, HuaHua’s Taqueria) also made remarkable strides with their fitness goals: “According to the scale, I actually didn’t shed that many pounds” shares Erickson “but my body is transforming! Not only do my clothes fit so much better, but I have a lot more energy and feel great overall”.
So what’s the one advice the winner wants so share with us? “Make sure to stay away from processed sugars—which are terrible for us! Putting cocaine in our body is almost the same thing; it spikes insulin levels and affects the blood chemistry. Our bodies work well when our sugars are at a low steady pace, look at the obesity problem in America today, it’s directly correlated to the amount of processed foods we consume. It’s destroying us!”
All in all the 12 chefs lost over 139 pounds in total and raised $9000 for Live to Fight! Miami is lucky and proud to have such a wonderful community of chefs...support all of THEM every chance you get!