Joshua Weissman is a 17 year old food lover with a passion for health. Joshua always loved food but his love for food led to an eventual weight gain. After years of ridicule and physical harassment he decided to change his life and lost over 100 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. Even after this, he kept his strong affinity for food and now runs the blog Slim Palate, a food blog where he posts his recipes and other recipes that he likes to make, along with fun stories and just general food talk. The idea behind Slim Palate is to spread the beauty and love behind food through sharing recipes while keeping it to a certain healthy extent and through the constant use of mostly whole foods. They almost always turn out healthy while also being at the same standard as a high quality and decadent meal.
Q: How did you get involved in cooking to begin with? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
My entire life I have always had an obsession with food and cooking. Luckily my parents always help nurture my curiosity and interests by letting me do things and helping me with them. My mom mainly taught me the basics growing up and then kind of let me loose to see what I could do. Now that I look back to it I think I have been cooking almost my entire life, there are pictures of me when I was around 2 or 3 with this way too big for me chefs hat, cooking, and I always had a huge smile on my face. Seeing as food is a necessity to life, and a daily bodily function, why not make it an art form that you can enjoy every single day? I think cooking is probably one of the most intimate and closest ways of having a conversation with someone. You speak to them through the food. The smile on their face is always what I seek after that first bite.
Q: Why is eating grass-fed meat and sustainably-caught fish different? How does it affect your cooking?
When it comes to when I’m cooking I want people to enjoy their food to the maximum while maintaining a certain standard of health. When someone loves food like I do, it’s not just about the taste, it’s about the ingredients, how fresh they are, how high quality they are. With eating grass fed beef and sustainably caught fish you can keep that standard of health and you can be assured that what your eating is not only delicious but it’s contributing to your health and the environment. Anyone who has a passion for cooking and food will always seek out the best of the best, and grass fed and sustainably caught is exactly where you start. Although, now that I think about it, it’s kind of funny that we have to search for great things like this, because grass fed meat and sustainable caught fish are all the ways that things are naturally meant to be. Anything that isn’t, doesn’t really fall under the definition of “food”. I suppose this is something that I would simply associate with good food, and food should always be good. As Auguste Escoffier once said, “good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.”
Q: Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
It has a lot to do with health, but it also has to do with morals and common sense. In my eyes, it would be hypocritical for someone to have a passion for food and cooking, and not be considerate and respectful to the ingredients they use. After all the ingredients are what make the dish, so it should be a constant thought in the mind of a food lover/chef.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed meat?
I always knew that grass fed meat existed but didn’t really think there was a difference at first. But once I started digging into my love for health along with my love for food I started looking at the higher quality places for information. One of the first things I saw was a video from Alton Brown on grass-fed beef. He basically explained the fact that cows and many other ruminants are supposed to eat grass, and how their bodies are designed to eat grass. After watching that video my entire perspective grass-fed meat completely changed, and for the better.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
It’s the ingredients that make up the dish. If you have dirt ingredients, then you have dirt. If you have high quality healthy ingredients, then you have a high quality and healthy dish that is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
Stay ahead of the game. Try not to do to many last minute dishes because they will most likely stress you out and make a mess of the kitchen. Try to plan out your meals, pick out your meats first then your vegetables. Or try and decide on a dish according to season or region. Cooking seasonally or by region can be the most fun in my opinion. Then once you have that down you can mix and match all of your meals and keep from having the same meal over and over. Plus it’s healthy to mix and match what you eat as much as possible. Eating the same thing over and over isn’t just boring but your body craves change.
Q: What are your best tips for home cooking?
Try and remember “mise en place” which is French for “everything in place”. The idea here is once you have figured out what you are going to cook be sure to measure out and have all of your ingredients chopped, minced, pureed or whatever the instructions called for and set out and ready for cooking. That way you can simply toss each ingredient in at the necessary time. This has not only helped me get dishes done a lot faster but it keeps the kitchen fairly clean and keeps you from burning something in the skillet while your taking however long chopping that tiny little chili.
Q: What is your favorite recipe using grass-fed meat?
I love complex flavors in a dish, and I love eating fall apart meat when it’s slowly cooked to perfection. Fall apart meat is always alluring to me, but my all time favorite recipe for grass fed meat is actually quite simple. It’s a pan roasted tenderloin with a little bit of salt and pepper and a little bit of chopped rosemary and minced garlic cooked to a beautiful medium rare. There aren’t too many ingredients nor many flavors but the simplicity of it really brings out the flavor of the meat itself, and when you have a nice quality piece of meat it is oh so worth it.