Erika Gali specializes in Healthy Food, an approach to nutrition that allows you to combine certain ingredients to awaken the metabolism. Its goal is to help people also understand that eating “Healthy” is not just about salads!
You are a chef and gastronomic consultant, how did you approach cooking?
Cooking has always given me joy thanks to its powerful ability to connect people. I have always been intrigued by how food can impact health and, at some point in my life, I decided to follow this passion, delving into the subject and approaching this beautiful world of healthy cooking. Beyond the study and curiosity with his great teachings, the path I took was a profound experience, a journey to discover the interconnections between our emotions and some specific foods. Let me give you an example: think about some of your most cherished memories; many of them probably involve food. Food connects us to the past, to our family and friends, sometimes even to unknown people. It connects us to various cultures and places that we may never have visited. It connects us to our stomach, our body, our living energy, our emotions. And when you cook, do you know what happens? You become the creator of that connection!
How do you manage to reconcile healthy food with taste?
The attention to the quality of the raw materials, the rediscovery of local products and the imagination in combinations to enhance the flavor of the primary ingredients and obtain the best results in terms of flavor are the basis of my cuisine. Knowing how to eat food in its most nutritious state, combining raw, steamed, poached or cooked food, combining certain ingredients with others to achieve a certain result is the essence of my work. My kitchen wants to awaken in every diner the taste of eating well, using fresh and high quality raw materials that are the basis for the success of a dish with an unforgettable taste. Every self-respecting chef should know how to enhance the ingredients and flavors available, creating tasty and satisfying dishes for his customers. Simplicity (which is subjective) is my real workhorse, a distinctive trait that differentiates me from other cuisines which, on the contrary, make extensive use of creams and sauces, ending up covering the flavor of the individual ingredients. My cuisine is based precisely on finding the right balance between flavor and ingredients, taking advantage of the quality of the products and enhancing the basic flavors to the maximum.
You specialize in the concept of healthy and innovative cuisine, what does it mean?
These are not dietary foods but foods with beneficial nutritional properties: low fat content, no added sugar, no use of artificial ingredients, little red meat and no dairy products of vaccine origin …. How to combine certain ingredients to awaken the metabolism or choosing the most suitable foods and when to consume them, as well as eating healthy fats and again, integrating vitamins thanks to selected ingredients is the basis of my concept.
“Food be your medicine and medicine your food” – Hippocrates (460-370 BC)
“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you what you are” – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1826
“You are what you eat”, for you it is not just a mantra, can you explain better what you mean?
Healthy cooking is not just a matter of quality raw materials but it is necessary to study how the nutritional properties of individual foods change according to the preparations, cooking methods, combinations, as well as the right doses to obtain benefits and avoid damage to health. My goal is to help people also understand that eating “Healthy” is not just about salads!
What is “banned” in a healthy kitchen?
In my kitchen all refined industrial products and derivatives, dairy products of vaccine origin and obviously all that is junk food are banned.
What are the healthiest cooking methods to follow a healthy nutrition program?
What are the healthier cooking ?
- Low temperature cooking (also called CBT or sous vide cooking) it’s a cooking method that combines vacuum packing in special bags to a cooking in hot water to temperature not too high, between 48 ° and 85-90 ° C. Low temperature cooking allows to obtain tastier foods, less loss of nutrients, excellent textures and greater shelf life food that can be frozen.
- The boiling. Method suitable for practically all foods – vegetables, meat, fish, legumes – which if well done, with a sparing addition of fats and the minimum time required for each food (which can be very little, if we only have to blanch vegetables or boil a fish delicate), it is definitely healthy. The only drawback is the fact that many nutrients are dispersed in the water, and therefore end up in the sink drain. To avoid this it is necessary to use a little, that is the minimum indispensable, and possibly reuse a part of it to cook other foods (eg pasta or rice). In this way, a virtuous recycling of cooking liquids and nutrients is carried out!
- Steamed. Have you ever cooked a steamed potato? The success is such that it will not even be necessary to flavor it with salt. In fact, steaming is considered perhaps the healthiest of all, as well as the best for preserving the natural flavor of foods (organoleptic properties), because the dispersion of mineral salts that occurs in boiling does not occur. You can cook any food with this method, managing to “save” many of the precious nutritional virtues contained in them. Vegetables, meat and fish, but also legumes, thanks to the heat of the water vapor that penetrates delicately but evenly inside the food, cook in a short time, without flaking and without the need for fats, which can then be added raw later. like good extra virgin olive oil.
- In the oven. Excellent cooking method as long as you follow a few rules to preserve the goodness of the food. In order to avoid adding excessive amounts of fat, it is best to use non-stick traysor the greaseproof paper. Furthermore, to roast the most delicate foods and safeguard their nutritional and organoleptic properties from direct dry heat that can be harmful, it is better to protect them by wrapping them in a foil or in a salt cover (great for fish).
- The wok. Stir-frying a food that cooks quickly – vegetables, meat, fish – is an excellent way to preserve its nutritional properties and maintain its consistency. The wok is typical oriental pan in iron or cast iron, which allows for excellent cooking. Being deep you can add some liquid to evaporate quickly, and it will be easier to sauté the food in order to mix the flavors with the condiments, avoiding excess fat
- The grid. If you follow some rules, the classic “barbecue” is not at all harmful as we tend to think. First rule: before grilling the carnelet it rest in a simple one marinating based on extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and spices including rosemary, vat, garlic, parsley, sage etc. for at least 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. Not only will your steaks or your chicken be much tastier, but above all you will prevent them from scorching, thus releasing the known carcinogens. Same procedure for the pescebut in this case the times are shortened (half an hour is enough), and for verdure (about ten minutes). Lemon juice can be substituted for vinegar, for example apple vinegar, which is delicate and aromatic, or dry white wine, which will evaporate anyway during cooking. Second rule: take care to always keep your grill perfectly clean, eliminating all traces of food and burns. You can easily substitute the grill for the cast iron plate.
The eye also wants its part, how do you study the dishes to make?
As a young girl I studied at the Art School and I am therefore an artist in all respects and, fortunately, I am not lacking in creativity and I have never lacked it. The part, therefore, of the presentation of the dishes is the part that most amuses me. 🙂
I think of the dish as a work of art in all respects, where the diner before saying “wow” through taste must “say” through his eyes!
So in summary, I imagine the dish by creating an idea mentally and then I put it on paper drawing it in all respects. If I see it on paper, it is easier for me to understand if the plate “turns” … it works. Then of course I move on to physically create it.
Do you organize Cooking Classes, who are they and what are your customers looking for?
Yes, it’s a part of my job. I like the idea of teaching some dishes of my kitchen and it gratifies me because, make people cook, getting them dirty, kneading and making them do something they never would have done before is truly wonderful. In these lessons, I teach and suggest recipes, foods and ingredients perfect to solve various needsboth in terms of time and food health. Healthy and balanced dishesin which all are preserved and amplified to the maximum benefits that every single food releases to our bodywith many benefits in terms of health and disease prevention. Quick and easy recipes that allow you to have more time for themselves and their families, while also saving money.
Not only recipes then: but also lots of useful information.
I cook for busy families and people who want to eat healthy or lose fat. I also cook for people with specific problems such as food intolerances, or for people with different “food choices” (vegetarians, raw foodists, vegans). Usually my typical customers are those who are tired of relying on fatty and / or industrial foods and want to improve their health through “healthy eating”.
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