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Clean Eating: How do you define clean eating?
Ming Tsai : I really don’t have a definition. East-west cuisine is a combination of eastern and western techniques and ingredients that produces bold-flavored food with contrasting textures that is inherently healthy. With your cooking technique, not just your ingredients, you can eat incredibly healthy.
CE: What would our readers be surprised to learn that you eat at home?
MT: We cook simple. In the summer I’ll grill up either meat or fish with a bunch of vegetables, serve it with couscous and we’re done.
CE: What are a few quick and easy clean meal ideas?
MT: Ramen noodles are really quick and easy and make a great go-to lunch or light dinner. Add a handful of baby spinach or shredded carrots to make it a little bit healthier, and you have a tasty dish. (CE Tip: Look for whole-grain or brown rice varieties at your local Asian market or in your grocer’s Asian food section.)
CE: Are seasonality and local foods important to you at home and in your restaurant?
MT: We try. We’re in New England and the growing season is so short here, so that’s always been a struggle. When we can buy local foods, such as heirloom tomatoes, spring peas and corn, we buy in abundance. But when it comes to garlic and onions, we go through such large quantities that we just can’t buy one case. There are some chefs who walk the farmers’ markets; I think that’s a fantastic way to cook and that’s how I cook at home.