Candice Kumai Talks Recipe Rehab, Favorite Splurges and More (With Cookbook Giveaway!)


When your catchphrase is “All things in moderation, including moderation,” you’re going to get our attention. Because that quote is awesome. And former model-turned chef Candice Kumai is awesome, plus. Besides dropping make-ya-think-and-make-ya-laugh truthbombs, this beauty is a judge on Iron Chef America, a three-time cookbook author, and she’s been featured on Everyday Health’s YouTube-turned network TV show, Recipe Rehab. Hosted by Chef Danny Boome, each episode of Recipe Rehab features two celebrity chefs who go head-to-head to transform a calorie-laden dish that’s been submitted by viewers into a healthier version. Such a great concept for a show!

And now you can get the recipes from the show to try at home! RECIPE REHAB: 80 Delicious Recipes That Slash the Fat, Not the Flavor takes the good-for-you, soul-satisfying dishes that have made the show a hit and captures them in one user-friendly book with recipes and cooking tips. We recently had a chance to chat up Candice about the show, book and, well, everything!

Interview With Candice Kumai

What can we expect in RECIPE REHAB: 80 Delicious Recipes That Slash the Fat, Not the Flavor? How is it different than other healthy cookbooks? This cookbook was designed for the American reader to fall in love with cooking again, to be inspired and to try some new twists on classics made-over. With 80 American favorites “rehabbed” by the nation’s top chefs, you can be sure these are top-notch recipes with only the best ingredients in mind. Everyday Health’s nutritionists tested, nutritionally checked and helped to approve all 80 recipes, so you’ve got a seal of approval there as well.

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe from the book? What is it? Absolutely! My Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes with Spiced Apples and my Creamy Butternut Squash Shells and Cheese — you can’t go wrong when you are swapping butternut squash and pumpkin for excess cheese and butter!

We’re always writing about new healthy foods, drinks and products that we’re obsessed with. What are a few things that you’re “obsessed” with these days? I try to steer from “food trends” unless I’ve got to adhere to them for a piece in a magazine or cookbook I’m developing. I’m all about eating cleaner, better and always working out at The Bar Method in Soho, all the time. I think “lifestyle changes” are the ultimate trend!

What are a few easy swaps that people can make in the kitchen to rehab their recipes for the healthier without compromising on taste?

  • Make homemade salad dressings and marinades vs. bottled.
  • Always use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo.
  • Cook with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil vs. butter or shortening.
  • Use natural sweeteners like honey, maple and agave vs. artificial.

What’s your favorite splurge? French fries and champagne at midnight.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received in the kitchen? Don’t try to over impress anyone. Just be you. Cook what you know.

Anything else you’d like to add? Recipe Rehab gives our reader the ultimate experience to shine in the kitchen! It’s an incredible cookbook that gives all of you the permission to cook family favorites again! Pizza, burgers, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, burritos, you name it. It’s all here, and it’s all for you to cook and enjoy again. Here’s to your health!

Love her tips and take on a healthy lifestyle. Plus, French fries and champagne at midnight? Hells to the yes! What’s your favorite splurge? Tell us, and one select one random U.S. reader to win a copy of the book in about a week! —Jenn


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  1. My grandma used to tell me that catchphrase all the time! It’s one of my favorite motto’s to live by.

  2. Oh, and my favorite splurge…a vegan banana cupcake with peanut butter icing made by a local bakery with my favorite loose leaf cream earl grey tea, served on beautiful china of course! It’s not splurging if you don’t do it up, right?

  3. It’s amazing how Greek yogurt can be so satisfying as a sauce on veggies, especially with a few spices thrown in. My fave splurge would be of course anything chocolate. I’ve even shaved a bit into my coffee to keep it under control, lol. Must get a calorie-free chocolate flavoring I guess! This cookbook looks good too!