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‘Cook Your Ass Off’ becomes ‘Black-Belt Healthy’ on HLN/UpWave

On tonight's HLN/UpWave episode of “Cook Your Ass Off,” host and chef Richard Blais challenges three chefs to compete to help a person with bad eating habits, spruce up their diet with healthy versions of the unhealthy food they love on this episode titled “Black-Belt Healthy.” Richard knows what poor habits can do, as he has lost 50 pounds in his journey to regain his health and vitality.

Richard Blais host of Cook Your Ass Off on HLN/UpWave
Richard Blais host of Cook Your Ass Off on HLN/UpWavePhoto by Timothy Hiatt

As the episode begins, the three chefs are introduced; Chef Lucas, a cancer survivor from Argentina, Chef Michelle who grew up in an unhealthy environment, now she cooks for health, Chef Chris, who likes to bring freshness to comfort food and also helped his father lose 120 pounds. Recipes from this episode are found here.

The competition is for Roger Bonilla, 35, who weighs 286 and wants to weigh 220; he has been doing martial arts since he was a kid. His cravings are for fried foods, fast food and processed cheese and hates vegetables. Roger recently lost his brother to heart disease, and his family wants him to change his diet before it is too late for this father of six.

The three judges are; Roger, nutritionist Keri Glassman and Chef Michael Psalakis. The winner will get to work with Dean and help redesign his menu and help with his poor eating habits. The winner will also be entered into the finals, where the winner could bring home $50,000.

The first round is Snack Attack. They had 20 minutes to redesign his favorite snack; loaded nachos. Keri explained that this snack contains 740 calories, with 40 grams of fat and 50 milligrams of cholesterol. She also stated that this is considered a hyper-palatable food that can trigger the same neural responses as addictive drugs. This round is not an elimination round, but the winner will have a big advantage in the next round. Chef Chris made a Ground Turkey Taquito with Tomatillo Salsa. Chef Lucas made Grilled Watermelon with Tofu & Feta Ceviche. Chef Michelle made Chili-Spiced Black Beans & Guacamole. The winner of this round was Chef Chris, who made something Roger liked so much better than the others.

As they were sent by Richard, to “Cook Your Ass Off,” they rushed to the pantry for round two, an elimination round, they had to do a Meal Makeover of his favorite Fried Chicken. This dish contains 730 calories, 45 grams of fat and 235 milligrams of cholesterol. As the winner of the first round, Chris got to choose an ingredient that both of his competitors had to use in their dish, his choices were; Yucca, Wheatgrass and Lavender. Chris chose Wheat grass. Michelle made Walnut-Crusted Chicken & Cauliflower Puree. Lucas made Panko-Crusted Chicken with Coleslaw & Corn. Chris made Oat-Crusted Chicken & Black Bean Succotash. Michelle was eliminated from the round.

The last round was the Ideal Meal round. They each must use Wild Boar and Bok Choy; from a nutritional standpoint, the boar is leaner than pork and contains one-third the fat of beef, and bok choy is part of the cruciferous vegetable family and is high in fiber and regulates blood pressure. Roger knew that he was not enjoying the sight of the bok choy, and asked the chefs to do their best. Lucas made Chimichuri Boar Steak & Sicilian-Style Bok Choy. Chris made Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Bok Choy and Potatoes.

Chef Chris earned a spot in the finals because his dishes were more directed towards Roger. He will have a chance to win the $50,000 grand prize.

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