Low Profile Polymath: Kevin AKA Fit Food Chef
One of the latest, and to my mind more curious, developments in city living is our contradictory approach to health. We want to stay in shape… but we crouch over computers for 10-hour office shifts. We invest in NutriBullets to pulp veg and do juice cleanses… but we invest twice as much in a single night out, stretching the liver till it’s yellowing on a Saturday night.
Of course in the last year and a half, our interest in health became vertiginously heightened, impacted by the long shadow of the pandemic. That is not to say that our previous mini hypocrisies were purged. But we can hardly be blamed for misunderstanding or getting things wrong when the pressure to eat well and exercise became so intense, with special thanks to the influence of social media. Nor should we be blamed for being seduced by shortcuts; the offer of instant gratification is hugely tempting, but these diets and fads are filled with false promises and discontent in the long term.
If you’re looking for a more reliable source than social media, you can’t do better than Kevin Bryant, whose moniker as Fit Food Chef surely makes him the ultimate dreamboat. ‘I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than ten years and a chef for over twenty’, says Kevin. He is nothing short of a low-profile polymath: having gained certificates in personal training and nutrition, worked extensively on developing recipes for meal-kits, as well being a private cooking teacher, providing the building blocks on how to prepare healthy meals.
‘I love being in the kitchen, but I don’t love all the things that come with it, like the unsociable hours. Fitness helps me de-stress and prepare for that high-pressure environment, and getting those happy hormones keeps you on the up.’ Kevin tells us.
A big part of what he does – and a key element of his output during lockdown – is creating recipes for food companies and meal-kits, so it’s more than possible that you’ve already tried his food. If you subscribe to the likes of Munch Fit and Mindful Chef, or have eaten at Equinox gym, BXR or Barry’s Bootcamp you may well have been chowing down on Kevin’s cuisine. Now the time has come for our menu mastermind to step out from behind the curtain.
Kevin also recognises the need to be mindful of what ‘convenient eating’ – whether in succumbing to takeaway apps like Deliveroo or meal-kit providers like Hello Fresh. ‘We lose that interconnection with people as we go more online’, he says. ‘People don’t want to cook from scratch anymore, they flock to restaurants for the social aspect, and at home rely on convenience and don’t learn any new skills’. There are now countless versions of meal kit companies, catering to specific diets, promising to introduce you to new food cultures, or claiming to have a hand in reducing food waste. Far from encouraging us to be adventurous in the kitchen, they give us a rather expensive crutch we could probably do without.
Kevin’s prefers the ‘tailor-made’ approach to understanding wellbeing. An early adopter of holistic health, through cooking classes, coaching and fitness plans, Kevin can bind together what your body needs inside and out.
‘Commensality’ refers to the positive social interactions associated with people eating together; as professor of psychology Charles Spence wrote, ‘The table is the original social network’. Yet now, digital social networks take precedence over enjoying food properly. We’re too busy watching or scrolling as we eat, Instagramming meals while they get cold, not too concerned with the taste itself. The virtual veil is repeatedly pulled over our eyes with dogged insistence that it will improve our lives, but there are things which are better without the interference of tech.
If you can find that respect and mindfulness in sitting with your food, appreciating the greasy crumble of a croissant, the tantalising smell of bubbling homemade soup, if you can find the time for yourself instead of Netflix, then you’ll understand the value of having someone like Kevin – a real person, not a bot – personalise your menus, discuss your needs and hand over agency to someone you can work with, instead of an algorithm that hopes to work against you.