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The Stomach and the Soul

Posted: January 3, 2008, from the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The following information is provided as a supplement to the article “The Stomach and the Soul: Incorporating Food and Drink in the Spa” by Cathy Christensen running in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine. To learn more about the incorporation of food and drink in the spa, please see the current issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Chad Luephje, executive chef, Red Mountain Spa, St. George, UT
James Boyce, executive chef, Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, CA
Jim Root, general manager spa operations, The Spa at Sea Island, Sea Island, GA/ISPA chairman
Julie Raistrick, spa director, Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, CA
Maureen Schumaker, spa director, Le Spa, Sofitel LA, Los Angeles
Myrna Beardshear, spa director, Red Mountain Spa, St. George, UT
Tassia Waldhart, lead esthetician at Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Christine Denney, wellness chef, The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, CA

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Chad Luephje, executive chef, Red Mountain Spa, St. George, UT

Our philosophy is pretty simple: We want to have food that is healthful and as enjoyable as it can be. That leaves a lot more room than most people think when they think about food that is good for you. My background is mainstream destination resorts and hotels, making it taste good and look good … you don’t think about the health ramifications.

The healthfulness takes precedence here. We eliminate good, tasty, unhealthy things, like bacon and foie gras. People should enjoy our food and really be thinking about how great it tastes and that it is healthy, too. We get the most vibrant flavors and textures and colors while staying within our guidelines and putting a healthful twist on our foods. They see things that they recognize and are familiar with. In order to that, we incorporate whole grains, low-fat protein sources, fresh herbs, citrus and different vinegars to help brighten up.

Advice: Every place is different, depending on what their facility can handle. The first thing they would want to do is check and see if there are any destination-type resorts around. Red Mountain is a resort and then a spa; people check in and stay for several days as people would at a typical hotel, and there are wonderful spa and exercise facilities. The first thing I would do is see if there is a property like that in the area and get together with the chef and nutritionist, get some guidelines, use the Internet for healthy guiding principles. Use a wide variety of colors, as your picking out fruits and whole grains, and figure out ways to sweeten things without using processed sugars.