Put those diets on hold: The ninth annual Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival (561-389-1222) returns December 10-13, and the lineup of talent is more impressive than ever. This year, chefs Daniel Boulud, Christina Tosi, Johnny Iuzzini, and other New York luminaries will team up with local favorites, including Clay Conley, Lindsay Autry, and Aaron Black, for a new round of not-to-be-missed epicurean events, such as the grand tasting and cooking competition, a New York vs. Palm Beach street food smackdown, and a pair of children’s cooking classes taught by chefs Jonathon Sawyer and Robert Irvine. Prior to the festival, PBI caught up with Irvine to discuss his take on today’s culinary landscape.
Favorite food trend: I am excited about the growing interest and awareness in the source and nutritional value of what we consume. This is very positive, and I hope it sticks.
Toughest challenge: The dinner I prepared for the entire staff at the Quebec Ice Hotel in subfreezing temperatures during Dinner: Impossible [his Food Network show]. It was the closest to actually being impossible that I can recall.
Most satisfying professional moment: I do a lot of work in support of our military personnel and their families, and every moment I have to commit to those folks is beyond satisfying.
Loves to cook for: My wife, Gail, and my girls. I’d rather cook a family meal for us to sit down and enjoy together than for anyone in the world.
Would like to eat a meal by: Either Michel Richard or Roberto Donna. They’re both culinary geniuses, and everything they prepare is done to perfection.
Go-to kitchen staple: I’m a big fan of grape-seed oil and use it in virtually all my cooking. It has omega-3 fatty acids, a higher smoke point, and no flavor, so it works well as a universal ingredient.
Favorite cookbook or reference work: My book, Fit Fuel: A Chef’s Guide to Eating Well and Living Your Best Life. The entire guide is based on the lifestyle I live now; it has kept me healthy and strong.
Connection between physical fitness and food: For me, the two live in harmony. I travel with a blender and I get in a complete workout in my hotel room or opt for the stairs, when available. We all can find ways to replace ease and convenience with a welcome challenge if we are motivated to do so.
Food photography by Jason Nuttle