Unless they’re biological freaks of nature—or spend half their lives on ellipticals—chefs and food writers typically gain weight after years of shoveling starchy, fatty things down their throats. Even though we all worry it will come, none of us really want to face that day when the doctor finally sighs and delivers the bad news: You need to drop some pounds, lardass.
Because once you get the news, you have to make decisions. Low-carb diet? Low-fat diet? A combination? More exercise? Less alcohol? To anyone who loves good food and drink, choosing one of these diet plans can be like choosing between waterboarding and sexual humiliation.
Roberto Donna, the man who practically introduced Italian regional cooking to D.C. via Galileo and his many other restaurants, has decided to jump on the diet grenade for “health reasons,” he wrote me via e-mail. “I want to live a long, full life and it’s important to stay healthy.”
His diet, unfortunately, calls for Donna to swear off carbs and go light on meats. “Everything else in moderation,” he writes, “and combined with exercise.” Everything else? For a man whose name is synonymous with Italian cuisine, is there anything else but pasta, bread, and meat? It’s a damn good thing that red wine carries so few carbs.
I have to say, though, that Donna looks better. He’s not exactly ready to audition for Dancing With the Stars, but he looks noticeably trimmer. Donna says he’s lost 33 pounds. His goal is to drop another 50.
Now if you’re worried that Donna’s one-way ticket to Mary-Kate Olsen land will affect his cooking at Bebo Trattoria, fret not. The chef still gives himself room to taste test. “It’s all about eating and tasting in moderation,” he writes. “It is important to taste [the] foods I cook and prepare for my guests, but just taste.”