Chef Aaron Coutinho's virtual prescription kitchen has takers from Mumbai to Mexico
It’s not everyday that a chef tells you his stomach ulcers were a blessing in disguise. But Aaron Coutinho, who has worked in restaurants like The Bombay Canteen and Desi Di, is not one to grumble. Instead, the 29-year-old, who specialises in regional cuisine, used his dietary restrictions as a roadmap to better understand healthy cooking. This was back in 2018.
And since then, the Mumbai-based chef shares, “I have tried all sorts of diets from the popular keto to paleo, to going vegan for six months... which gave me a good understanding to distinguish between diet fads and guiding principles that have worked for me over the years.” This was also around the time when his in-laws enrolled in a diabetes reversal programme — and saw startling results within a month, further strengthening his beliefs in the healing properties of food.
Chefcouts’ 10 Commandments for healthy living:
• One grain a meal • Eat two hours before you sleep • Three grains a week • Four things on a plate • Five fruits a week • Six nuts and seeds • Seven hours of sleep • Eight parts full (eat till 80 per cent full) • Nine pulses a fortnight • A 10-minute stroll after each meal
“I realised how important diet is in the overall well-being of a person and embarked on a journey to amalgamate my culinary knowledge with healthy eating practices,” he tells us. Much research in the kitchen coupled with a course on Food and Health from Stanford University, California, since then and the chef has given himself a new mission: “to teach people how to cook healthy, tasty meals so that they can take control of their own health”.
This led to the launch of Chefcouts Food and Wellness that was launched a little over a month ago — and already has clients from Europe, Canada and the US. The four-week programme comprises an introduction to healthy eating concepts and habits, recipes and even live cook-along sessions each Sunday. “We also have a WhatsApp group to share and discuss diet guidelines and healthy eating concepts so that you can decide what resonates with you and your culture.”
Wait a millet
Going back to reliable basics and high quality ingredients, Chefcouts Food and Wellness has also started a vertical of healthy ingredients. These include millet varieties, red rice, flax seeds, Khapli wheat and raw honey from Idukki Region of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Delivery currently available within Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Pine and Bengaluru. INR 100 upwards.
Expect sessions on natural probiotics combining kitchen staples like a fermented chilly ketchup, how to make your own whole wheat buns and more wholesome versions of everything from burgers to biryani. There are also pointers on how to effectively read food labels while shopping for your groceries. Chef Aaron tells us that a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is “Look for the number of ingredients mentioned on the label, the more the ingredients the unhealthier it usually is!”
A four-week programme is priced at INR 3,000. Next batch starts August 24.
Photo credit: Toa Heftiba