The road to wellness has been a winding one for chef Franklin Becker. Stops on his personal highway included weighing in at 235 pounds, being diagnosed with diabetes at age 27, a crash-course in the wonders of the Mediterranean diet while working at a restaurant in Italy and a son with autism.
These days Becker embraces a balanced lifestyle and encourages others to do the same with his cookbook, Good Fat Cooking: Recipes for a Flavor-Packed, Healthy Life ($30) and two farm-fresh restaurants: the Midtown lunchtime favorite The Little Beet and the full-service The Little Beet Table.
We checked in with the busy chef to see what a normal day is like for him and to snag a must-have recipe for broccoli deliciously charred and marinated with a glug of olive oil and a scattering of chiles and garlic. Get the recipe below.
What’s your morning routine like?
I usually have a cup of tea and some oatmeal or a half a grapefruit. I love the quinoa oatmeal I created for The Little Beet. It is a great starter for the day.
How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?
I keep my sugar levels constant by grazing throughout the day. Plus, I am always on the go. I love to walk or bike everywhere and anywhere.
What are your three desert-island ingredients?
Olive oil, salt and citrus.
Is there an ingredient you would never use or a trend that you hate?
I hate “NO” diets. Our bodies need fat and carbohydrates to sustain ourselves. Removing them entirely makes no sense. We need to control them and know where they are sourced from, but not remove them. In the case of a gluten-free lifestyle, this is not a diet, this is a necessity for those with celiac disease.
Blistered Broccoli with Garlic and Chiles
- 1 head broccoli, cut into 16 pieces
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over high heat. Place the broccoli in the skillet and char until blistered on one side. Turn and char the other side. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Pour the oil over the broccoli and turn to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes. Drizzle with the lemon juice, season with the sea salt and lemon zest, and serve hot or at room temperature.