Top Chef alum Ariane Duarte visits The Daily Meal kitchen to make a light and healthy brick chicken eggplant parmesan.
Ariane’s lifelong love for cooking began as she watched her grandmother cook family dinners.This Top Chef alum studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and worked in some great restaurants and catering establishments in New York City, Dallas, Chicago, and New Jersey. For the past eight years Ariane has been at the helm of CulinAriane, the wildly successful Jersey restaurant she owned with her husband, Michael. CulinAriane has just closed its doors to allow the couple to open their dream restaurant, Ariane Kitchen & Bar, in Verona, New Jersey. Ariane and I met years ago as judges of a chowder cook-off in New Jersey and have been friends since. She is an amazingly talented chef and a super cool chick!
Now let’s get Ariane’s take on healthy cooking and eating.
Do you see a trend with diners seeking better-for-you options on the menu?
I do. I see chefs like myself taking classic fatty dishes that we love and putting a healthy twist on them.
What’s your definition of “healthy eating”?
Moderation for one; less fat, more veggies, lean protein.
What is your secret to cooking healthier without sacrificing flavor?
Brining and curing proteins and making salads and sides with nuts and fruits.
What is your favorite dish on your own menu and why?
I love my brick-pressed chicken with eggplant parmesan. It is my twist on eggplant Parm — very light, the way my great-grandma made it, but topped with a lean, brined, boneless half-chicken.
How about an update on what’s new and exciting in your world?
I just opened a new restaurant and couldn’t be more excited! Ariane Kitchen & Bar is located at 706 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona, New Jersey.