It’s hard out there for a chef. (To stay fit and healthy, that is). As the executive chef of Maialino, Nick Anderer is surrounded by swaths of food every day—everything from the restaurant’s morning oatmeal to dinner’s braised local suckling pig. However, Anderer is also one of the fittest guys we know. With that in mind, we asked him to spill his tried-and-true secrets to staying healthy with us. His Clean Habits will come in handy come August, when Anderer will add more to his already-full plate when he opens Marta, a thin-crust pizzeria that emphases local ingredients.
What’s a typical day of eating like for you?
I eat a lot of small meals and bites throughout the day, either via recipe testing, quality control or just straight snacking. Rarely do I sit down to a full plate of food on a workday. I don’t follow any strict diet, but as a meat-lover, I try to balance my meat consumption with a healthy dose of raw fruits and veggies. And I also try not to eat anything after 10 pm and to limit my carb intake during the second half of the day.
How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry?
You need a lot of restraint from the temptations of constant pecking. And you need to find time to stay active outside of work. With a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, I’ve been focusing more and more on keeping my core as strong as possible so that my lower back is supported—in the chef world, that’s usually the first part of your body that gives out.
Has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on the menu at Maialino or the upcoming Marta?
Definitely. We are always talking about more healthy ways to serve Italian food. We stopped toasting our almonds in butter or oil, and are instead leaving them raw and unseasoned. With really good Sicilian almonds, not only are they healthier raw, but they actually taste better. We’ve added extra fish options to the menu and are sure to keep them predominantly carb-free, utilizing as much raw vegetables as possible and dressing with light vinaigrettes as opposed to heavier sauces or purees. At breakfast, we’ve focused on serving more healthy grains, even adding a house-made, whole-grain cereal to the menu.
How do you stay fit?
I try to do something active with my body at least five times a week, going heavy on cardio and peppering in light doses of strength training and stretching/ lengthening. I probably SoulCycle at least twice a week, and when it’s nice out, I opt for long runs along the East River. And every so often I do one-on-one Pilates sessions, which focus much more on balance and muscle lengthening than on traditional ab work.