We spoke with Top Chef contestant and host of Cook Yourself Thin Candice Kumai about how she balances staying fit with a food-obsessed career, what the sexiest recipes from her new cookbook, “Pretty Delicious” are, and what she suggests cooking for Valentine’s Day dinners. Check out what this spunky girl has to say.
What are three of your ‘sexiest’ recipes from your book and why?
The Sexy Swiss Chard recipe would have to be the first, because it is full of vital nutrients and vitamins that will keep you healthy and sexy forever. Secondly, I would say the Chocolate Covered Banana Bonbons, because they are made with dark chocolate and bananas. I consider both ingredients to be two of the sexiest foods. Last but not least, I would say the Omega Omega Salmon because all the flax seed and omegas are great for your skin, heart health and brain. Nothing is sexier, to me, than having a man that has a brain and knows how to use it.
You seem have found the balance between eating healthy foods and staying in good shape to feel sexy and confident while also enjoying great food – how do you manage that connection while working in the food industry?
It is all about balance and moderation. If I work out hard, I can eat hard. That is my motto. Quite frankly, I feel everyone can fit into their jeans happily, everyday, if they were conscious of what they were eating and making proper time to work out and stay healthy.
What are five of your go-to ‘skinny’ or ‘low-fat’ snacks?
Raw almonds, bananas, Fuji apples, Pure Dark's chocolate, and the recipe for Asian almonds in my cookbook is fabulous.
How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?
OH LORD! I haven’t had much time to date lately and I spend a lot of time with my girlfriends. I feel like I always want to spend time with them and at their life changing events over dating because I haven’t found anyone special enough yet. I would love to find someone, but it just doesn’t seem like now is the time to date. If there is anyone interested, you know where to find me at StilettoChef.com.
When cooking dinner for special occasions, are there certain types of foods or cuts of meat that you tend to use?
It is always good to have fresh fish, if you can get it. Fresh tuna or salmon is my favorite. It is expensive and hard to find, but definitely worth it. For holidays, I like fresh vegetables and healthy side dishes. For example, my Simple Obsessed Baked Potato recipe in my book is a great side dish. Also, my Roasted Garlic and Buttermilk Smashers are a classic staple at my holiday dinners. I always have fresh vegetables on the table. To me, it’s not about meat. Meat is secondary to a good plate of vegetables.
If you were cooking for your girlfriends this Valentine’s Day, what kind of foods would you make?
I would make them my Quinoa and Crab Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper recipe, in the book. I also like making them a couple of salads, because come on, what girl doesn’t like salads? I would make my spinach, strawberry, feta walnut salad with a honey balsamic vinaigrette. And of course you can’t forget my Strawberry Baby cakes and Homemade Peanut-Butter Crunch Cups.
When cooking for men, do you have any go-to ingredients or dishes that you like to make?
Ha-ha I can’t remember the last time I cooked for a man. But if we are speaking hypothetically, I guess I would make my Miso Glazed Salmon with a side of Ginger Soy Bok Choy and a side of brown rice. Of course I would also serve a big, tall bottle of red zin. I would finish of the night with Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.