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Q&A: Celebrity chef Daniel Green on his food philosophy and eating healthy

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur’s stunning glasshouse restaurant, Poolhouse has returned with an all-new concept that thrives on healthy eating experience. Debuting its new menu, the restaurant presents the renowned celebrity chef as seen on Food Network, who is also a two-time international airline menu creator—who has also incorporated signature recipes of his own creations into the menu.

Chef Daniel Green at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur’s Poolhouse

Chef Daniel Green, Poolhouse at Grand Hyatt KL, healthy food

The stunning glasshouse restaurant, Poolhouse, at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur has undergone a transformation with an all-new concept that emphasises on healthy eating experience. The restaurant has enlisted the services of the renowned celebrity chef Daniel Green, who is also a two-time international airline menu creator, to create a new menu that features his signature recipes alongside the restaurant’s own.

Chef Green’s philosophy is to prove that healthy eating can be fun and exciting, rather than the usual perception that it is dull and bland. The restaurant is aiming to break the stigma associated with clean eating by offering dishes that are both healthy and hearty. The menu focuses on paleo-friendly, keto-friendly, and non-processed ingredients and shies away from processed foods.

The restaurant’s menu is complemented by eco-friendly produce that includes freshly picked herbs and greens from the hotel’s own garden, as well as an in-house vertical garden nurtured by a local urban farming brand, Cultiveat. The dishes are carefully crafted, ideal for sharing, and range from small starter plates like grilled octopus and build-your-own-salad selections to large entrée medleys like wok-fried barley and buckwheat.

Chef Green believes in using naturally produced food because it is better for the body and the taste buds. He incorporates made-from-scratch ingredients in his recipes, ensuring that the dishes are not only healthy but also taste great. The menu at Poolhouse is designed to appeal to those who want to eat healthily without compromising on taste and flavor.

We had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Chef Daniel Green, the renowned celebrity chef as seen on Food Network.

Chef Daniel Green talks about his inspiration in becoming a chef and what he thinks of the current good food movement

Chef Daniel Green, Poolhouse at Grand Hyatt KL, healthy food

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, including where you are today, professionally, and what got you here?

My career was really a personal journey, I lost a lot of weight 35 years ago which was very hard to do at that time, considering all the limited food options. So I had to come up with my own ideas on how I can make it interesting and healthy at the same time. Diets don’t really work for me so I didn’t have much faith in losing weight—which was what made me hesitant in the first place.

A lot of my inspiration actually came through travel especially when I visited Southeast Asia. I’ve been visiting the region since 1991 and I instantly fell in love with Malaysia. The F&B scene here has always excited me, even when I first visited the country.

It has always been my passion to share my philosophy on healthy food and I was fortunate enough to be able to showcase this on an array of television networks across the world, from BBC to Food Network. In addition to that, I have written about 12 books that’s printed in over 15 different language—focusing on how to make food interesting for people who want to lose weight.

Other than that, I’ve previously created a number of menus focused on make healthy and sustainable food for international airlines and hotels across the globe. Today, I’m proud to launch my very own concept menu for Poolhosue at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, where I have applied my philosophy of what healthy food means today in every single dish.

What or who inspired you to become a chef?

Back when I was younger, I have always enjoyed watching cooking shows that were very different compared to the shows you’d watch on the telly (short for television) today, they would literally highlight the method of cooking one dish for 30 minutes—not quite the fast pace cooking shows today.

I remember admiring chef‘s like Madhur Jaffrey and Ken Hom, so when I got to work with them on the PVC many years later, it was quite the treat.

Who has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?

I’d probably have to say my father, he has always stressed how hard you had to work in life in order to achieve success. I’ve had some really fantastic success in my career but I have to say everything was due to the hard work and hours I had to put in, nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. It really was down to tenacity. I had to believe in what I was doing which I did wholeheartedly.

What’s your signature dish?

I’d have to say it’s my cauliflower pancake with seared salmon, avocado, poached egg and salmon caviar. It’s the best brunch, lunch, dinner or any meal for that matter, because it fills you up and is guilt-free. And guess what? It’s on the menu at Poolhouse.

What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?

I would say it has to be made easy for those who are making or recreating it in the comfort of their own homes. Other than that, I always consider the portion—does it have to be big enough to feed millions? Does it have to be fancy or does it not? But one thing is a must when it comes to crafting the menu, it has to be completely guilt-free, one where you can eat as much as you want—knowing it’s never going to jeopardise your health.

I also keep in mind that it’s important to create a dish or a menu where people would look at it and want to order it because it sounds or looks great, not because it’s a healthy option.

Chef Daniel Green, Poolhouse at Grand Hyatt KL, healthy food

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

Oh yes, completely. I’m always very careful of what I consume and I’ve lived like this for over 30 years. So, if you see me eating it, I promise you it’s completely guilt-free.

Tell us about your overall food philosophy. What have you learned in your years of experience as a chef that you would like to impart to us?

I’ve seen every diet trend there is. I’ve written books on pretty much every one that’s out there, but there are some that I’ve always lived by—reduce carbohydrates, you must have a good lean protein on your plate, have as much fruits and vegetables as you want. I would suggest to not have sugar, but I understand how hard it can be to not consume it at all so I would advise you to have it moderately. Try to eliminate butter and cream and have enjoy a cheat day once a week where you can literally have anything you want. It’s what you do on a daily basis that counts.

How would you define healthy cooking and healthy food in general?

The term ‘healthy’ is such a hard word to determine what it means completely. A lot of restaurants and retail outlets have constantly used that word without knowing what its definition. To me, healthy means clean food—no processed food, no deep fried foods, no food with sugar, or simply anything natural.

I’ve written two books on the paleo diet and that’s exactly what healthy is to me. Real food, lots of fruit and vegetables, and protein to fill you up. I keep stressing how important it is to avoid sugar and I promise you, once you stop consuming it, you won’t crave it!


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A post shared by Daniel Green (@chefdanielgreen)

How would you describe the current good food movement? Why is it becoming more and more prolific?

I think because it’s becoming more and more prolific now, we actually have more of an understanding of what healthy food is today and what it truly means. Since there’s so much knowledge about it that’s available at the tip of our fingers, more people are starting to notice the importance of eating healthy.

I think most research shows that consuming ‘healthy’ fats and low-carb meals work for so many types of diets. There’s a huge trend on plant-based foods going on right now, and I have to admit that I like it. There’s also a real big movement going towards veganism.

If you could have a healthy meal cooked for you, what would you order, and who would you like to have cook it for you?

I would love to have some grilled seafood—lobster, shrimp, scallops, crab, basically anything from the sea. I’d love to pair it with a couple of mouthwatering sauces (coughs like the ones I designed for the Poolhouse menu) and of course I would love to have my mum cook it for me. I mean, who wouldn’t want to devour what their mums have made for them?

What’s your favourite healthy ingredient?

Cauliflower. It’s just brilliant, you can turn it into a purée, you can replace rice with it, and you can even turn it into pancakes—it really replaces carbohydrates without you knowing it.

Your favourite “junk food”?

Well, that list is a pretty big list! Like I said earlier, it’s important to always have a day off (cheat day) because then you’ll never feel like you’re on a diet. I would say for me, my cheat days consists of pizza normally. Other than that, I usually have some good ole French fries and some really good French cheese paired with a crusty bread.

(All images courtesy of Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur) 

Q&A: Celebrity chef Daniel Green on his food philosophy and eating healthy

Melissa Foong

Senior Digital Writer

Born and raised in the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur, Melissa loves writing all things fashion, beauty and dining-related. She has written for BURO 24/7 and Augustman, and when she's not busy chasing deadlines, you can find her tucked in a blanket rereading her favourite series of fantasy novels, Harry Potter.

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