In honor of Food Republic’s annual Healthy Living Month, we reached out to chefs about their diet and fitness routines and are featuring these interviews throughout January. Next up is George Mendes of New York City’s Aldea and Lupulo.
Chef George Mendes has been popularizing Portuguese food in New York City for the better part of a decade. His restaurants Aldea and Lupulo, plus coffee bar Bica, have garnered praise across the gastronomic board. His signature pasteis de nata fly off the shelves. Staying healthy and fit can be a challenge when you’re surrounded by phenomenal rich food all the time, so how does Mendes do it? He runs like the wind.
Mendes shares his workout details and gear picks on his Facebook page. Last year he also hosted the Night of Champions dinner with the New York Road Runners for the New York City marathon’s top athletes, as well as visiting Olympians. This is after completing the marathon himself to support NYRR’s Team for Kids program, by the way. With a good pair of sneakers and high-quality fuel on your side, healthy living is well within reach.
What’s the first thing you eat/drink in the morning?
Coffee. My girlfriend, Alexandra, and I are currently enjoying a Milwaukee-based roaster called Collectivo, as well as Eastlick Roasters out of Brooklyn.
How do you manage to keep in shape and avoid grazing while always being in kitchens?
I definitely graze, as I am always tasting dishes with the teams at Aldea and Lupulo during services. I always eat breakfast at some point between 6 and 9 a.m., but lunches and dinners are more sporadic. The consistent exercise helps.
What’s your fitness routine, if any?
I spent months training for, and completed, my first full marathon last November [the TCS NYC Marathon]. I continue to run heavily and am currently training for the 2017 Paris marathon.
Do you practice any wellness routines — meditation, acupuncture, massage?
I have been meaning to start meditating and have downloaded the Headspace app, but have failed to start a routine! I do get the occasional massage.
Any New Year’s eating resolutions?
Eat less meat and pizza, and more fish.
Have you ever done a fad diet? Juice cleanse?
No, I don’t believe in that.
Any food or drinks you actively avoid?
I pretty much eat everything.
Have you ever struggled with your weight?
Not really. I lost five pounds from all the running over the year and have kept it off.
Any go-to, quick-fire healthy recipe that you can provide us off the top of your head?
Egg whites scrambled in coconut oil.