Last Thursday I had the culinary pleasure of dining with some of the food and health industry's most notable faces. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Bouley Test Kitchen for a 9-course tasting dinner (thankfully they were small tastes!) hosted by renown chef David Bouley (shown at right) and nutrition guru Oz Garcia who are teaming up to open a restaurant in Anguilla at the Baccarat Hotel Resort that focuses on haute functional cuisine. So what's that fancy-schmancy word really mean? The nutritionally-sound food will incorporate ingredients that serve a healthful purpose but the dishes will still taste like you're in a 5-star restaurant. And I can absolutely attest to that. Though I wasn't able to stay for the entire evening, the tastings I did enjoy were amazing, quite the gastronomic and educational experience. Working closely with Garcia, Bouley focuses on aspects of Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine, particularly the eating habits of people from Okinawa and Crete - these populations have the highest life expectancy and lowest incidence of chronic disease. His explanation of how he cooks and his own personal experiences with food was fascinating (hey, I'm a nerdy nutritionist, what do you want!?). From olive oil and flaxseed oil to miso and kombu, Bouley blends flavors like a magician.
Something that particularly caught my interest specifically was the focus on probiotics in his dishes--to promote healthy digestion, overall wellness, and even a bit a weight loss. Many of us have trouble digesting food well (whether you want to admit it or not)...and if you're prone to feeling the big bloat or like a flotation device, probiotics might not be a bad idea. You'll find probiotics (or 'healthy bacteria') in many foods like plain yogurt, miso, and kefir as well as in over-the-counter supplement forms -- BioK+ and Culturelle are 2 reputable brands I really like.