Once upon a time there was a handsome chef and a lovely woman. One day they were both at the Aventura Publix. They met, fell in love, and soon after came the little tacos. Authentic Mexican tacos with a gourmet touch. Then burritos, quesadillas, even Mexican pizza. They couldn’t stop.
“It’s her sauces,” says chef Stuart Snowhite. “I can’t resist her sauces. She is the Sauce Queen.”
“She” is Jenny Bianca, the produce aisle enchantress whose sauces (seven and counting) electrify Snowhite’s new restaurant, Taco Spot. He is a Westin-trained gourmet chef who counts athletes, billionaires and even a president among his well-fed clients.
Muscular and trim, Snowhite is the picture of health. He’s also about half the man he used to be — literally. In 2004, Snowhite, 43, shed 125 pounds on a menu plan he personally designed for the task. He now incorporates elements of that plan into his gourmet Mexican fare. Snowhite’s menu reflects his choices for a healthy diet, and those choices speak from experience.
The Philadelphia native knew by age 10 that he wanted to be a chef. “I started cooking when I was 6. My dad cooked, my mom cooked. I just loved to cook.” When the Snowhite family moved to Houston, the passion went with him. As a high school junior, the young self-starter picked up the phone and called the Westin Hotel.
“I said, Hey! I want to know about your apprenticeship program! They pick five people every year. Boom boom boom, they accepted me. It’s a four-year program. You go through every part of the hotel. Butcher shop, pastry, banquets, fine dining, desk. You learn every aspect.”
After completing the Westin program, Snowhite returned to Philadelphia to become executive chef of a catering company. “We did the Democratic National Committee dinner with President Clinton. It was $25,000 a plate.” What did they get for that kind of scratch? “Rack of lamb with snow pea shoot leaves, moelle osseuse gelée (bone marrow jelly), scallops. For dessert we served roasted espresso gelato with tiramisu bread pudding. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it,” he laughs.
Back in Philadelphia, now as a successful executive chef, Snowhite — who had been thin all his life — started putting on weight. “I was married, and miserable, just ate all the time. I gained 125 pounds. One day I made an audition tape for the Food Network, to be their next celebrity chef. I saw myself on that tape, and said, Oh my God, you’re disgusting! Make a change!” The video image stirred Snowhite into action. “I left the bad marriage, and started losing weight by watching everything I ate and working out. Low carbs and high protein, so your body goes into ketosis and burns stored fat.” The changes paid off; the weight disappeared.
“I believe in protein, vegetables, low carbohydrate fruits, and really watching what you eat,” he says. “It makes your body run. I believe in some grains. Like quinoa. Beautiful grain! It has so much protein.”
Physical activity completes the picture. “I don’t like to call it a diet,” he says. “I think of it as a lifestyle, and it really paid off for me. I exercise every day. I really want to be in peak performance. And that’s what worked for me.”