Tag Archives: The Taste

LIC resident teaches how to be healthy and happy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Joe D’angelis

Healthy-living guru Cassandra Bodzak wants to help everyone have their cake and still look good too.

Bodzak, 26, is currently a happy, healthy living guru and an Institute for Integrative Nutrition health coach who runs GoSweetandSkinny.com, a website filled with healthy and yummy recipes, helpful tips and information.

The Long Island City resident, originally from New Jersey, thrives on teaching others that everyone can be happy and healthy without adhering to strict or extreme diets or being a size zero.

Her interest in healthy and happy living began when she attended the University of Connecticut, as an acting major. Bodzak said during the program she was met with a lot of pressure to be thin and have a good body, and saw a lot of friends doing unhealthy things to achieve that goal.

After suffering from bad random stomach pains and being put on an elimination diet to determine the cause, Bodzak felt healthier and decided to go vegan and taught herself healthy cooking. During this time, she began creating vegan and low-fat baked goods that made mouths water.

“I found out I was able to be thin and I wasn’t sacrificing myself,” she said.

Bodzak’s friends then began encouraging her to start blogging her recipes and tips, and spread the word that you don’t have to have an eating disorder or be on a restrictive diet, just to be healthy.

What began as a rescue blog has now become her life. Bodzak currently works with clients from around the country, either via Skype, email or face to face, to help them lead a healthier life, and most importantly – be happy.

The big emphasis in her recipes, tips and diets is the use of local, organic and GMO-free foods that you can purchase at a farmers’ market.

“My mission in life and of the website is to show everyone that being healthy and happy can be attainable,” she said. “You don’t have to do anything that is crazy.”

Bodzak offers a free 30-minute breakthrough session which serves an introduction for both the potential client and the coach, to see if each is compatible with the other.

One of her signature recipes, which was not only part of the start of Go Sweet & Skinny, but also recently gained her a spot on ABC’s “The Taste,” is her vegan cupcakes.

The audition episode, which aired on Thursday, Jan. 2, showed Bodzak, along with other chefs, try to win a spot on the team of one of the top chef judges including Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson. Bodzak was chosen to be on Lefebvre’s team and will continue to participate in the show which airs every Thursday on ABC.

“It has made me a much more confident cook,” she said about her experience on the show. “I stepped outside my comfort zone in a show that isn’t really about cooking healthy. I went out there and showed people that you can do anything. I showed how far we’ve come and what’s possible if you put your mind to it.”

Along with her website, coaching and television premiere, Bodzak decided to put all she knew about juice cleansing in a recent book called “Juicespiration,” after receiving countless questions from friends and clients. The book, filled with all kinds of juice recipes and how-tos, can be found on Amazon.

One important tip Bodzak emphasizes for anyone deciding to follow a juice cleanse is staying on a healthy diet after the cleanse because returning to your old eating habits would cause your body more damage than good.

If you are interested in working with Bodzak, joining her Jumpstart 2014 program, or want to sign up for the free newsletter, including recipes and information, visit www.gosweetandskinny.com. You can also follow Bodzak on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoSweetandSkinny and on Twitter @cassandrabodzak.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Astoria chef competes on ABC reality show ‘The Taste’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of ABC

The freshest face of foodie television is as fiery as her cooking.

Diane DiMeo, a self-taught Astoria chef and aspiring restaurateur, is a contestant on “The Taste,” a new ABC program that teams ambitious cooks with kitchen veterans for blind taste tests, battling it out for $100,000, a car and gastronomic glory.

DiMeo, who was selected by Anthony Bourdain, best known for his show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” calls herself the bad-boy chef’s “female equivalent.”

“I identify with him,” DiMeo said. “You love to love him and you love to hate him. He’s just that guy.”

DiMeo, who has spent the past 22 years in kitchens across New York City, said her style was crafted by trial and error and the thick skin necessary to survive as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

“Women in the kitchen didn’t exist,” said DiMeo. “You were a pastry chef, but you were not an executive chef. I learned very quickly that I was going to get tough or get taken down – it’s definitely shaped my culinary style in a very renegade fashion.”

She hopes her presence as a strong, successful woman on a national cooking show creates a different identity for women hoping to make a name for themselves in the restaurant world.

DiMeo, who competed twice on Food Network’s “Chopped” and won once, said her cooking is identical to her personality – fiery and bold with global elements.

“There’s nothing wimpy about what I cook,” she said.

DiMeo moved to Astoria eight months ago, attracted to the neighborhood’s mix of authentic ethnic cuisine and new, innovative favorites.

“There’s already so much food there,” she said. “There are so many ethnicities and cultural restaurants and cuisine but it has new venues too. It’s a food scene that’s changing.”

DiMeo is currently in negotiations for a space on 30th Avenue in Astoria, where she hopes to soon open a new seafood restaurant, tentatively called Shell and Roe.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES