Dave Fouts had WLS, lost 210 pounds and took his passion for cooking to the bariatric community. The following is an interview of Dave Fouts, "The World's First Bariatric Chef" taken from the Milwaukee/Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
he's known as "the world's first bariatric chef." He has four books
addressing weight loss and travels around the country teaching portion
control, healthy eating and cooking techniques. You can find his
recipes and a newsletter at www.chefdave.org.
will be in town this weekend, demonstrating cooking techniques at
private luncheon celebrating the 10th year of the Froedtert &
Medical College Bariatric Surgery program.
Q. What led you to become a chef?
just always had a passion for food. As a child I never wanted to do
anything but be in the kitchen. It was more than just the food. It was
a creative outlet. . . .
have to give credit to my granny. She's in her late 80s now. She'd let
me stand next to her on a chair and treated me as an equal and taught
me how to cook. . . . She really took the time out. She had a lot of
grandkids and realized I had a gift and nurtured it.
Q. You started out managing a fast-food restaurant. What did you learn?
gives you insight into how people rely on fast food. . . . You've got a
meal for $4, and you're out the door and you're full. Everything I've
done in life teaches me about the value and cost of the food.
I took - besides gaining an extra 50 pounds eating there - is if you
have the proper price point, people will come and eat the food. I do a
lot of consulting for Fortune 500 companies. When they go to add
healthy foods to their menus, people don't want to buy it. Too high in
price, or they don't want to eat like that by themselves.
one thing to say it and another to act on it. I feel sometimes that's
how companies get a bad rap. They invest millions into development and
launching, but then nobody buys it.
Q. Why did you choose bariatric surgery?
A. It's not a small decision. Weight-loss surgery should always be the last resort. I'd tried every single diet there was. . . .
turning point was with my oldest son, who is now 8. Looking at
pictures, I didn't remember half of the events. . . . I wasn't in the
photos. Where was I? My wife said, "Oh, you were at home, you weren't
feeling well. You were tired." My obesity was that bad.
watched a (television) special about a surgery called gastric bypass
used for this 50-year-old man to live. . . . To this day, I would hope
that one day he would read this and contact me because he is the
reason. He opened up my eyes to a whole different world.
Q. How do you approach food differently now?
realized I needed to do something as a chef when I was sitting there
after surgery. Chefs know you don't puree food in a blender, you puree
food in a food processor. Otherwise it is going to be gross. That's why
people were having failures after this surgery.
patients were having issues keeping food down. It wasn't that they
weren't doing what the dietitian told them. They didn't know how to
prepare the food or choose the meat. I talked to my physician, and we
realized just education on proper cooking measures, just giving them
the basics, would make a difference.
Q. Who is the audience for your books?
I wrote "Culinary Classics," it was the only cookbook published for
weight-loss surgery patients. . . . Now it is out of print.
The industry has changed since I had that surgery (in 2001). We had to do strictly glorified Atkins. . . .
are now some standards. I typically do a cookbook every two years
because the guidelines change. . . . My latest book, "90 Ways to Ditch
Your Diet," is being repackaged as "30 Days to Ditch Your Diet."
"World's First Bariatric Chef" was taken off the cover. People thought
it wasn't for them. But it is for them, because it teaches portion
Q. What do you think of weight loss shows like "The Biggest Loser"?
think it has inspired people, but there is more drama than there needs
to be. . . . I don't think weight loss should be sensationalized. It is
a disease in this country that affects millions of people every
year. . . .
don't sensationalize heart disease, . . . but we do that with people
who are overweight. . . . It's the one last frontiers where people can
be discriminated against, and it is socially acceptable. That bothers