If you watched the eighth season of the Next Food Network Star you would have seen a lot of amazing culinary creations but not much by way of healthy eats, especially not from this year’s winner Justin Warner. That’s why we wanted to grill the Next Food Network Star, famous for decadent dishes such as foie gras and jelly donuts and marshmallow fluff with wasabi on pork, about his take on healthy eating and if we will see any health conscious recipes on his upcoming Food Network show. We were pleasantly surprised to hear his take on healthy eating and enjoying all his crazy concoctions guilt-free!
SHAPE: What was your favorite dish you made for the show?
Warner: The no-bake cookies from the Chopped challenge because it’s fun, tastes good, and was different and unique. It was good to give a shout out to the humble no-bake cookie. It’s something anybody can do.
SHAPE: How would you make this recipe healthy?
Warner: Eat less! And don’t hesitate to substitute your own act of culinary rebellion. If you know something is healthier, substitute it. Let’s take the no-bake cookies for example. I use graham crackers, which aren’t too bad but you could do it with oatmeal if you wanted some extra fiber.
SHAPE: Does nutritional value factor in when you are creating recipes?
Warner: NO! I really truly believe we should love our food and by respecting it and by loving it we can learn to make healthy choices and learn to live a healthy lifestyle. We live in a fear based food society sometimes and I don’t dig it. I don’t dig it at all. I think that If people were happy to have treats instead of guilty to have them maybe we wouldn’t rush to confess our sins and repeat that action so often. The goal is to treat food as something that nourishes us as opposed to something that is potentially bad for us.
SHAPE: What is your favorite healthy recipe?
Warner: I do a really wicked salad with garden sorrel, seaweed, and vanilla cured salmon eggs. Garden sorrel is a really epic leaf because it’s highly acidic. The point is, you don’t have to do anything to it. You can put olive oil on it and it tastes like a salad because it already has the acid in it. That’s what is in a vinaigrette, a balance of acid and fat. So the idea is you can put a super healthy olive oil on it and you’re ready to rock. You don’t have to add cheese or anything.
SHAPE: Will we be seeing anything healthy on your upcoming Food Network show?
Warner: Absolutely, sure why not? You’ll see a lot of my encouraging people to be moderate in their lifestyle choices. At the same time, I think sometimes to make something healthy is to make it rebellious. My corn soup from the show, for example, was totally vegan nut-free, dairy-free, all that. The point is, I’m willing to accommodate and I relish the challenge.
Can’t wait to see what Warner cooks up when his show hits the air!
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.