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‘Cook Your Ass Off’ is waging ‘Honey Buns War’ on HLN

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On today’s New Year’s Day marathon, HLN 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. Richard knows what poor habits can do, as he has lost 50 pounds in his journey to regain his health and vitality on this episode titled “Honey Buns War.”

As the episode begins, the three chefs are introduced; Chef Michel Nischan, who has two children with Type 1 Diabetes and runs the Dressing Room Restaurant. Chef Roxanne Spruance, executive chef at Alison 18, and Michael Giletto with numerous awards for his food talents, this former bodybuilder suffered a severe car accident, which ended his bodybuilding career, and causing him to gain a considerable amount of weight. Now this raw food chef has lost that weight and is teaching others how to live a healthy lifestyle.

The competition is for Angel Rodriguez 36, a former bodybuilder, who gained over 100 pounds in the last year. As a major risk for heart disease, with cravings for sugary pastries, fast food and take out, can these chefs design foods that are healthy and will eliminate his cravings for the foods that are his downfall?

When Angel related his story to the chefs, he explained how gaining 100 pounds does not feel very good. He has health issues now that he never had before when he was bodybuilding. He suffers from high blood pressure, debilitating migraine headaches, and he not only wants to live a healthy life, but wants to set an example for his son. Angel will be one of the three judges along with nutritionist Keri Glassman and chef Claudia Fleming. The winner will have the opportunity to mentor Angel and develop a meal plan just for him. The winning chef will be one step closer to the grand finale, where the winning chef will win $50,000.

The first round is Snack Attack. His favorite snack food is iced honey buns. They must make over this 600 calorie and 31 grams of sugar snack, which adds nothing but 95% of the daily value of saturated fat to his diet. They have 20 minutes and a pantry full of healthy ingredients to come up with a fulfilling snack treat that will satisfy him and the other two judges. This round is not an elimination round, but the winner will have a big advantage in the next round.

As they were sent by Richard, to “Cook Your Ass Off,” they rushed to the pantry. Michel is making an Almond Flour Crepe with Pineapple Dried Cherry Filling and a Yogurt Honey Sauce. Roxanne made a Rice Paper Blini with Yogurt Stuffing, and Michael made a Sticky Protein Bar. As the judges deliberated, the chefs were sent to the kitchen. When they returned the chef who won the first competition was Roxanne.

The next round was the Meal Makeover, and they had to make over Angel’s favorite; Pork Fried Rice that contains 1370 calories, 41 grams of fat and 1500 milligrams of sodium. With an advantage in the round, Roxanne got to choose from three healthy but challenging ingredients for her fellow chefs to incorporate in their dish. The choices were; huitlacoche, squid ink and bitter melon. She chose the huitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy, with a bitter taste, but high in lysine. It is a fungus that grows on corn, similar to a mushroom.

Michel is making Chicken Fried Millet using sweet potato and kale. Michael is making a Smoky Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Quinoa. He used the Sous- vide machine to cook and seal in the flavors without using any fat. Roxanne is making Cucumber Noodles with Sweet & Sour Chicken. Now to see which chef is leaving the competition; Roxanne was eliminated from the competition.

The Ideal Meal round was next. Angel stated that he had the hardest time with dinner. Now the two chefs must create a meal that is ideal for Angel to continue his journey to good health and losing weight. They must use two healthy ingredients in their meal; red snapper and winter squash. These two ingredients will substitute the refined grains and high-fat protein in his diet. Michel made Seared Red Snapper with Winter & Summer Squash Linguine Pasta. Michael made Coconut Curry Snapper with Winter Squash Vegetable Hash. As the judges deliberated, the chefs went back to the pantry.

The winner of the competition was Chef Michel, who earned a spot in the finals and a chance for the $50,000 grand prize in the “Cook Your Ass Off” competition.

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