The Masterchef with a Masterplan
It’s a question that we often ask when meeting chefs… how do you lose weight when you’re constantly surrounded by food? Gourmet recently met with Chef Tarek Ibrahim, the first ever certified Arab Master Chef and star of Fatafeat TV who to find out his weight loss secrets and obtain some exclusive recipes so you can also drop a dress size following his plan!
“As a chef I’m constantly surrounded by food. When not cooking I’m thinking about cooking. My life is all about food and I travel all around the world judging, teaching, creating and eating mouth watering dishes. As you can probably guess I love food however I did not love my ever-expanding waistline!” Says Chef Tarek
Chef Tarek Before
Weighing in at an astonishing 103kg, Chef Tarek decided to overhaul his eating plan. “I felt bloated, sluggish and out of control, yet I still wanted to gain energy and lose weight eating the food I love.”
Enlisting the help top Australian nutritionist, Veronique Droulez, Chef Tarek was introduced to the Live Well Plan—a high-protein, low GI (glycemic index) diet she helped develop with Sydney University and the Dietitians Association of Australia.
The plan is based around eating protein rich foods, including red meat and fish paired with grains, cereals, vegetables, salad and dairy to help keep you fuller for longer and provide essential nutrients. Being low in nutrients, such as iron, can make you feel tired and lacking in energy.
“I’ve visited farmers in Australia and know first hand they have the best conditions in the world,” explains Tarek. “Australia’s global reputation for clean, delicious and importantly to me, halal red meat is second to none. What I didn’t know is just how good for you it is. Full of iron, zinc, omega 3 and vitamin B12, eating red meat, such as lamb and beef, three to four times a week is recommended to meet iron and zinc needs which help give you energy.”
Following the plan and using his kitchen skills, Chef Tarek began developing his own recipes based on the plan, losing 13kgs in the process. One of the main principles he learned along the way was the importance of portion control. “The fact is, I was eating too much. I needed to address the balance of my plate. While protein is still the hero of my plate—a sirloin or lamb chop – it’s now more balanced with salad or veggies.
“Breakfasts now consist of poached eggs on wholemeal toast or high fibre breakfast cereal, while snacks are fresh fruit, yoghurt or nuts. Lunch is either beef pasta salad or tuna and brown rice salad, recipes I have devised for dinner are flavourful, which I guarantee will keep you full and satisfied. Living well is choice. Choosing high protein and low-GI has really worked for me. I feel happier and healthier than ever before.”
Learnt to cook from his grandmother, mother and aunt in Egypt
Started out as a pro chef at Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis
Owned four restaurants in America including bakery and coffee shop, Upper Crust and a fine dining eatery, The Dry Dock
The first Arab to gain Master Chef status from the prestigious World Association Chef Societies (WACS)
Star of Fatafeat TV shows Mine Misser, 100 Lahma, 100 Makarona and new show Mashawy, with over 300 million viewers tuning in to watch his show
Trains the Egyptian National Culinary Team
Certified Class A Judge, judging global competitions including the World Global Chef competiton in South Africa and Battle of the Lion in Singapore