Would You Trust a 145-Pound Chef?

Nate Appleman, whose new restaurant, Pulino's, is scheduled to open its doors next month, looked fit on "The Next Iron Chef." But it was another story a couple years ago.

"At my heaviest, I was about 245 pounds, had a 40-inch waist, I was big," Appleman said. "I had a son about 3 years ago, and I was looking at pictures after he was born in the hospital, and I just thought, 'Wow, I look really bad.' And that was years and years in the making. I had always been big since I was a child, and something clicked when I had a son, I thought, 'I want to be around for him, I want to have the energy to not make excuses to go to the playground, I want to be that dad who is willing to do whatever it takes to make my son happy."

Appleman said he was still prone to eating binges.

"I was in Montreal," he said. "A couple friends and I ate at 15 restaurants in 48 hours. I don't know if you've ever been to Montreal, but that is not light food. That is cream, butter. ... One meal, we had three lobes of foie gras. It was indulgent, to say the least. ... Then I got back the next day and ran a half-marathon."

Now 70 pounds lighter, Appleman is about to open a restaurant in New York with some healthy options, including a nutritious daily breakfast.

The shift in chefs' thinking may be good for diners but, Casella said, many of them turn to celebrity chefs for a gastronomic escape.

Indeed, he's starting Weight Watchers next week only to lose a few pounds; so he can gain it right back.

"We have a deal," Casella said. "I start [Feb.] 17. Then we go to March 20. ... OK, by the 21st of March, I will lose 20 pounds."

That means no more pig cheek, Casella said.

"For one month," he said. "Then after three months, you enjoy."

After all, Casella only carries weight with many of his customers when he carries a lot of weight.

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