If you’re a fan of the show Top Chef on Bravo, you’ll probably remember Sam Talbot, Season 2’s second runner-up and “Fan Favorite”. He is the executive chef at Imperial #9 in the Mondrian SoHo Hotel in New York City and at the Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York.
Diagnosed with diabetes at age 12, Talbot has dedicated his culinary career (which he began at age 15) to creating delectable dishes that are safe for diabetics to eat. His new cookbook The Sweet Life shares both his personal story and some of his favorite nutritious recipes. But even people without diabetes can enjoy the book: as Talbot says in the introduction, “If everybody ate like a diabetic, we could make a major dent in the nation’s rates of obesity, heart disease, and a range of other debilitating ailments linked to diet.”
It’s easy to assume that food designed for diabetics, who must limit their intake of sugar and carbs, would be boring or that recipes created by a gourmet chef would be impossible to recreate in your own kitchen; fortunately, The Sweet Life proves that neither of these assumptions are true! For instance, take Chef Talbot’s recipe for “Pan-Roasted Shrimp with Whole-Wheat Linguine” (p. 123), made with garlic, shallots, white wine, basil, and lemon zest. Sounds anything but bland, doesn’t it? Or “Coconut and Lemongrass Soup with Lime and Cilantro” (p. 169), which includes diced jalapenos, chopped ginger, and sweet agave nectar. (Are you salivating yet?) There’s even a chapter on desserts! None of Talbot’s recipes skimp on flavor, and they’re all very doable, even for the at-home cook.
Chef Talbot also gives tips on lifestyle choices beneficial to diabetics (and to non-diabetics). He discusses his own habits of staying active with exercise, packing healthy on-the-go snacks for everything from daily life to road trips, and ensuring that his blood sugar is within safe levels and that he’s never without emergency supplies, like insulin. He offers words of encouragement and support to readers who may have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, and he’s living proof that, while diabetes requires some lifestyle adjustments, it’s still completely possible to lead a full, healthy life! Above all, Talbot advocates living a “sweet life”, one that’s rich in experiences–and flavor!