A Review of the huey diet by Iain Hewitson

 It is a pity that the huey diet is being promoted as a diet book, as it will probably be ignored by non-dieters. The recipes are actually quite good ones, even if you don’t have to lose 30 kgs like Iain Hewitson did. Hewitson is something of an Australian culinary celebrity, famous for his commercials for Bi-Lo, a discount supermarket chain, and as a presenter for a range of television shows such as Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, A Cook’s Journey, Huey’s Cooking Adventures, and Huey’s TV Dinner.

 

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

the huey diet
by Iain Hewitson
November 2001
Allen & Unwin
ISBN 1865085596
RRP A$39.95

It is a pity that the huey diet is being promoted as a diet book, as it will probably be ignored by non-dieters. The recipes are actually quite good ones, even if you don’t have to lose 30 kgs like Iain Hewitson did. Hewitson is something of an Australian culinary celebrity, famous for his commercials for Bi-Lo, a discount supermarket chain, and as a presenter for a range of television shows such as Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, A Cook’s Journey, Huey’s Cooking Adventures, and Huey’s TV Dinner. He owns and operates 2 Melbourne based restaurants, and has his own line of sauce products, and a range of kitchenware. He has also been known for many years as a very big guy; a kind of Antipodean Paul Prodhomme, who loves to eat the food he cooks. His new leaner appearance has certainly been noted by the Australian public, and for those who need to lose weight, and who love food as much as Hewitson, this book will likely be popular. Following Hewitson’s noted casual, down to earth style, the book is chatty, relaxed, and contains a number of personal reflections. It is also realistic, and doesn’t advocate anything faddish, unhealthy, or overly stringent. The Huey Diet isn’t really a diet as such. There are a few pages which detail Hewitson’s struggles, and a few introductory pages which summarise the principles of Hewitson’s diet, along with sample menus, but this is primarily a cookbook, featuring healthy, low fat and low calorie meals which are suitable for both dieters and non-dieters.

The principles of the diet are very straightforward, and involve always eating 3 meals a day, preparing those meals and sitting down to them, and ensuring that fruit and vegetables comprise over two thirds of each meal, with meat, poultry and seafood down to one third, and a minimum of fat. There are suggestions for what each meal should be, suggestions for dining out, hints on portions, snacks, and treats. The book is structured into breakfasts, light meals which can be served either at lunch or dinner, soups, main meals which is subdivided into seafood, chicken, red meat and pork, vegetables, pasta, bread and stocks. All of the recipes are gourmet in their choice of fresh quality ingredients, and most of them are quite quick and simple to make, even for relatively novice cooks.

Even if you don’t need to lose weight, and aren’t interested in cutting back on fat, the recipes include lots of fruit and vegetables, and are really quite healthy and innovative, with some contributions from some very well known restaurants and cookbooks. There are delicious breakfasts like Bircher Muesli, fruit filled pancakes, baked fruit, yogurt smoothies, and even a range of cooked breakfasts like Smoked Salmon on Sourdough with Baby Spinich and a Poached Egg. Light meals include an extensive range of salads, grain dishes, and vegetable rolls. The soups are particularly innovative, and include things like Pernod-Scented Fish Soup, Chilled Cucumber & Chive Soup, Lettuce Soup with Minted Sour Cream, and Cantonese Roast Duck and Noodle Soup. Main course highlights include some exotic combinations like salmon with celery-vanilla stock, Dukkah Chicken, Mustard-Crusted Fillet of Beef with Minted Green Pea Puree, and Pork Goulash. All in all there are over 23o recipes, and none of them are spartan, nor do they appear to be diet recipes.

If you are looking to lose weight, and love to cook, and eat fine food, this is a worthwhile book. If you are just looking for healthy, easy, and rather special recipes this book will also prove valuable, although there are no desserts. Don’t let the diet label fool you. This is a nice collection.

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