Chefs and Restaurateurs Who Lost a Lot of Weight, and How They Did It

If people who are surrounded by food all day can do it, so can you

Chef Graham Elliot lost more than 150 pounds. 

For most people, losing weight and keeping it off is a monumental task. For chefs and restaurateurs, who are literally surrounded by food all day long, it’s an even greater challenge. But these nine food world figures beat the odds, lost the weight, and kept it off.

Chefs and Restaurateurs Who Lost a Lot of Weight, and How They Did It (Slideshow)

The restaurant world is, needless to say, one in which it’s easy to pack on the pounds. While being a chef is a physically strenuous job, with long hours on your feet a given, chefs are constantly tasting food, formulating new dishes, and going out after hours to enjoy a big meal (Joe Bastianich talks about going to Balthazar with Mario Batali nearly every night until 5 a.m. for côte de boeuf and coq au vin, washed down with a magnum of wine). When food is central to your life, it’s difficult not to overindulge — and, as the saying goes, “Never trust a skinny chef.”

But in today’s health-conscious world, chefs know that being physically fit is a key to success in an environment as fast-paced as a restaurant kitchen. When these chefs made the decision to drop the weight, each went about it in his or her own way, be it running marathons or taking up swimming, strictly controlling portion sizes or cutting back on carbohydrates and processed foods.

So read on to learn about nine chefs and restaurateurs who lost weight and kept it off. It’s never easy, and it’s especially difficult for people in the restaurant industry, but if they can do it, then you can too.

José Andrés

A couple years ago, the 278-pound chef decided to lose weight, and dropped more than 40 pounds. While he started his diet by drinking shakes in order to limit himself to 1,000 calories per day, he soon switched over to eating tapas-style portions of his favorite foods. “I don’t say no,” Andrés told Bon Appetit. “I have butter, but I don’t have the entire bar of butter. And I make sure it’s good butter and good bread, so it’s worth it.” He also eats lots of fruit and vegetables and exercises regularly.

Joe Bastianich


This restaurateur changed his life once he changed the way he thought about food: as “fuel for ambition” instead of a reward. “That was the big 'a-ha' moment for me because I was brought up in a world where food was a reward, a celebration — there were always dishes, you had to eat this,” he told us. “If you can step away from that and fill your life so that you can refuel by food, then everything you eat is kind of like gas in your tank. It changes the way you feel about things.” In addition, he runs every day and participates in marathons and Ironman competitions.