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A look at the Unhealthy!

Cookwork's Perspective

As the new year brings new challenges, chefs will look more closely at nutrition and wellness in their menus.  In the past, comfort food has trended as the most popular style of food lately, so we found this article about some unhealthy cookbooks that you may want to avoid in preparing a more health conscious menu.

Please leave your comments below.

created on: 12/23/10

Gordon Ramsay's F-Word cookbook voted the unhealthiest of the year

Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen: Recipes from The F-Word was slammed by the US watchdog Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

‘Ramsay has travelled to the ends of the Earth to bring back dishes that will wreak havoc on your health,’ the group declared.

One dish in particular was seized upon – Ramsay’s British Pheasant Casserole - which is made of two birds, smoked bacon, butter and double cream.

Also making the top five list of most unhealthy cookbooks in the US are Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten, Home Cooking by Trisha Yearwood, How to Cook Like a Top Chef from the makers of Top Chef and The Primal Blueprint Cook by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier.

Members Also Browsed

created on: 12/17/10   High End Chefs Going Vegan


Source: Metro U.K.

christian watson

christian watson
Feb 7, 2011 11:35 CST

Cookwork is searching for you!

We are looking for graduates from three different culinary schools: CIA, Le Cordon Bleu, or Art Institute.  We will be featuring content in March about our member’s ‘Experiences & Expectations’ after graduating from a major culinary school versus the reality they are facing in today’s market.  Your comments here have motivated us to investigate!

Please send me your reason (positive or negative) on why you should be selected for an interview to appear in March’s feature! Please invite other chefs in your network to join and share.


1) You must be able to verify that you attended/graduated from the school to which you are commenting.

Send to:


Feb 2, 2011 11:53 CST


Absolutly, we do have a responsibility to bring forth the best, safest and healthiest product to the table, and by healthiest, I mean purity-wise.  No chef wants a crummy product IN, and does not want crummy product OUT, either.  That chain of provision needs to be in the forefront of everyone's mind, from the person balancing the soil or purchasing feed grains on down to the line cook setting up their Mise En Place each shift.

We are in as much control as we want to be. It is far more tedious to go through the steps of guaranteeing our products (watch the first episode of Portlandia if you need a goood parody of the lengths people go), but in the end, the person producing that plate can rest assured that quality is being delivered.

Is it time for change? Is it time a chef became a partner in the health crisis enveloping this country? Is Sam Kass not a hottie?? Yes, we all need to do a bit more for our fellow man, for the farmers, for the masses of people who don't know how to shop in the outer ring of a grocery store. We need to restore basic "home economics" in the schools, make Phys Ed a priority. We need to do a return to the ways of old, when making dinner did not involve picking up a phone, using processed foods or produce flown in from Chile.


Eating a little more seasonally will most assuredly help chefs lead clients to better ways- a little less animal product at times of traditional leanness and more produce in its stead is not a bad way to start. 


Can we do it???


christian watson

christian watson
Feb 2, 2011 11:02 CST

@Knifethrower -- I think you have well represented your point. However, is there some responsibility on the hands of food producers all along the food chain to maintain safe and healthy practices, so should chefs share in this "code of ethics" for our patrons?

I am not saying eliminate all unhealthy items in the world, but is it time for some change? As a chef I have expectations for how my ingredients are handled before I receive them. If some complication arose with that ingredient do "I" not expect that the problem will be addressed out of responsibility to me the "customer." We are a link in the chain, so do we also carry the burden of its responsibility?


Feb 1, 2011 10:47 CST

As much as we as chefs should consider the diner wholly and not just as a mouth to be fed, we must realize this truth: There is a difference between a resturant and a health spa dining room. Lets face it, people go out to DINE- to be papmpered, well fed, spoiled or entertained. Seldom does this involve cutting back on fat, calories, sugar or salt.


If one wants to go for a healthy meal, one patronizes a place that specializes in that particular fare, be it a walk-up counter joint, a food truck or a chi-chi yoga resort with sensible, ethical and politically correct selections. I bet the most conscientious of diners make just as many luxurious decisions as healthy ones in their daily food life. Nobody makes that choice a topic of debate, right?


As we all have mentioned, self-governing is the way to healthier living. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a massive pork butt to start braising and then get to the gym. Its all about balance...


Jan 25, 2011 13:19 CST

No matter what we Chefs do, no matter how we try to cook more healthy, more innovative menus it all boils down to the customer and their eating habits. As the saying goes "you can lead a horse to water........."

I personally know many Chef who have tried to make smaller portions or create more heart and body healthy menu items, but the customer doesn't want that. They want the fat and the high cholestoral items. and they want a lot of it. Know as a nation we are trying to educate the public about caloric intake and fat and so on....but it is going to take a lot of time. It is also a demographic issue as well.

christian watson

christian watson
Jan 25, 2011 09:44 CST

@ChefMick -- Perhaps we need to find some middle ground. Chefs have been going full throttle with very little regulations.  I think it is time to embrace the challenge of creating a healthy, delicious menu with some responsibility embedded in it.  I do not want to throw away years of techniques and food pairings, but rather teach some new best practices.

Ask yourself, how healthy is my cooking? If I had to change certain menu items, could I still make them delicious without sacrificing flavor? Do my skills lie to heavily dependent on fat, salt and sugar? Am I skilled enough to create change?

I encourage each of you to take one dish from your menu and do a "make-over" with your staff.  Engage them for suggestions on how to cut unnecessary ingredients! 


Jan 24, 2011 17:12 CST

  Wow! Let's just all quit going ou to eat all together then! What is wrong with this country? It's not that his food is anymore unhealthy than the rest. The problem is, as Americans we OVER indulge in eating. Granted the Brits may not have the best dental hygiene, but hey atleast they aren't the fattest country on the planet. You know, I'm only 5'6" and weigh in at 145lbs I eat anything and everything, I just eat in moderation. Yeah I'd love to sit down with a New York Style Cheesecake and eat the whole thing, but I'm smart enough to know that is not a good idea. How about as chefs we teach people to eat smarter and push yourself away from the table alittle sooner. I've made some of his dishes at home and they are rich and flavorful. BUT, I'm not going to eat meals like that 5 nights aweek. Wake Up America!!!! Eat what you want, just be smart about it.

christian watson

christian watson
Jan 24, 2011 09:03 CST

Great responses here everyone. This is the benefit of being a member, you can leave your opinions here and others can benefit from them. 

This is an interesting article, and I am proud to see that so many of us have left our opinions. As always, keep leaving your lasting impressions here and share the news with your other networks. 

PS -- Please help us by RATING the articles so we will continue to bring you the news you want.


Jan 23, 2011 11:55 CST

As I hinted at in the FB posting, the group that published this listing is a medical group that rallies for ethical medicine which in turn encompasses nutrition. Just to clear the air, the group is against any form of animal contact, be it in a medical lab or in a saute' pan. Yes, they do receive influence from groups that rally for animal protection.

Bear in mind that this list was created by physicians that see the repercussions of people who do not eat in moderation, who are diseased from their actions. They are motivated in part by science-based evidence that animal fats and proteins can and do damage organs when combined with obesity. These physicians treat these patients and look for companion ways to heal them through diet instead of just pharmaceuticals. 

As a chef, I accepted a professional challenge to cook as a contractor for this group teaching Native Americans how to return to their native plant based diet in order to reduce the epidemic effects of diabetes in their community. Calling it what it really is, the Vegan diet is a huge hassle for chefs. Compromise the objective by making it extrememly low in fat and only using indigenous plants and you have the ultimate in culinary throw-downs.

That said, cooking in the manner I was directed to, with fewer than 3 grams of fat per dish, was certainly a bit of an issue. Mouthfeel, balance, textures- all luxuries in a regular kitchen that we struggled with. We pulled it off, good changes were made, people turned corners on their health.


Just to be fair, I went along for the ride with them, doing the Vegan dance, sharing thie 8 week long experience. I respect the health issue and the associated benefits, but I can't tolerate extremism



Jan 22, 2011 07:54 CST

I take very little stock in what the media has to say about food choices. I am inundated daily with low calorie, low salt, and no flavor dishes. My take on all of it is eat whatever you want but don't over do it.

Portions in restaurants are still to large but I can still enjoy eating out without over doing it.

Moderation is always the key


Jan 16, 2011 23:52 CST

Here in the Midwest if you will, we always seem to be the last to get any kind of  contemporary food trends. A lot of people here in Evansville love to eat comfort food, fried, heavily sauced and garnished with butter, jk on the butter. All jokes aside i can't put to many healthy items on our featured menu without having to put one or two cholesterol-fat ridden items with them.


Jan 15, 2011 21:06 CST

haha, i say, let them man write his recipes, eat at your own risk and the consumer should be held responsible not the chef.


Jan 14, 2011 19:02 CST

Who cares what the crtics say,eat what ever you want,if you like it eat it!! If you want to eat healthy go right ahead,but don't start bitching at thoes who choice not to!! I'll take ANYTHING Gordon Ramsay cooks over anything you can cook Healthy!!! Bring on the Bacon!!!


Jan 14, 2011 18:44 CST

if you are looking for something special then i dont see anything wrong with it ... most people dont eat like that everyday but once in a while ... hell yeah!


Jan 13, 2011 16:47 CST

Hmmm so much for "Fat equals flavor".... I would think you could have fabulous dishes with less fat being involved. 


Jan 10, 2011 13:23 CST

I'll bet that British Pheasant Casserole is delicious!

christian watson

christian watson
Jan 8, 2011 10:21 CST

The Food Network should air a disclaimer before all its programs. “Warning: the following show features stunts performed by chefs who didn’t have to worry about washing dishes, afterwards.”

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