Chef Frederic Duca shows personal chef and culinary nutritionist Diane Henderiks how to make a scallop dish that is colorful and delicious
Frédéric Duca is in a New York state of mind! This super talented and charming Marseille transplant has taken the reigns in Tribeca at Racines, the hot, new Parisian neo-bistro that is the first of its kind in the big apple. It is here where Frédéric wows us by skillfully transforming fresh and seasonal ingredients into creative and spectacular dishes. Frédéric’s cuisine showcases his Mediterranean roots where he has trained and worked alongside the best of the best in restaurants like Taillevent, Darroze, and L’Instant d’Or, where he was awarded a Michelin Star.
Now let’s get Frédéric’s take on healthy eating…
Diane: Do you see a trend with diners seeking better-for-you options on the menu?
Frédéric: Yes definitely. Our guests are really into healthy food that tastes delicious, and they care about where the ingredients come from. We are asked constantly where we source our produce and how a dish is prepared so they know how healthy it is. I think they appreciate that we don’t cook with any butter!
Diane: What’s your definition of “healthy eating”?
Frédéric: I always try to limit the use of fat as much as possible, which is contrary to the reputation of most French cooking. We’re using a lot of fresh vegetables in our seasonal dishes, cooked simply with only a dash of olive oil. Spring and summer are seasons where you can easily eat extra healthy. Personally, I limit my carbs during the day so that I can enjoy a balanced dinner.
Diane: What is your secret to cooking healthier without sacrificing flavor?
Frédéric: I embrace delicate cooking of fish and vegetables without excess butter or olive oil. I also use sauces with care, so as not to overpower both the proteins and accompaniments and to let the ingredients shine.
Diane: What is your favorite dish on your own menu and why?
Frédéric: Wild Oregon Salmon. The salmon is done tataki, or quickly seared with a little bit of olive oil, served with a light and healthy cauliflower mousseline and cucumber sorbet. The sorbet really balances the salmon and mousseline — it’s a delicious and healthy summer dish!
Diane: How about an update on what’s new and exciting in your world?
Frédéric: Summer is my favorite season. All the fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and greens available in the greenmarket are so complementary to my style of cuisine with its distinct Mediterranean influences. Be on the lookout for artichokes, peas, fava beans, and strawberries on the summer menus at Racines NY.