The Cheat Sheet: Osteria Chef Jeff Michaud

We're mixing up the Cheat Sheet format to find out how Philly chefs stay healthy in the kitchen.

We asked chef Jeff Michaud, an owner of Alla Spina, Amis and Osteria—he’s also the executive chef at the latter—to fill us in on his healthy habits. Fun fact: He boxes to stay fit. And his food choices? They aren’t so bad, either.

What’s your typical dinner?
My wife, Claudia, makes a great chicken Milanese.

Favorite healthy option?

If I was eating healthy it would have to be a nice piece of grilled fish—I love striped bass on the grill—with a salad.

If you had to cook with one whole grain what would you choose and why?

Farro (the Italian word for emmer wheat, an ancient type of wheat) because it is so versatile. You can make risotto with it, soups or even cold salads.

  • Cooking tip: To cook farro, combine 1 part farro with 2 parts liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until grain is tender.

If you could only cook with three vegetables for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Arugula, tomatoes and potatoes.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Spaghetti with heirloom tomatoes, basil and olive oil.

Favorite “healthy” kitchen tool?

A blender because you can use it to make vegetable and fruit purées.

Favorite healthy cooking tip?

Less is always more.

Go-to healthy menu item at Alla Spina?

The charred zucchini with lemon, basil, mint and olive oil.

Katie Says …

At first glance you might think Alla Spina is not the place to go for healthy grub. But as a regular patron I can tell you firsthand: You’re wrong. The vegetable offerings are some of the best in the city! My picks: Try the zucchini, of course, as well as the raw kale salad and cucumber salad. Pair any of these light, seasonal dishes with one of the daily crudos for a perfectly tasty and good-for-you meal.


Restaurant menus are reviewed by Phillies dietitian and owner of Healthy Bites Katie Cavuto Boyle. See Cheat Sheets for other Philly restaurants here. And for Katie’s healthy dining-out tips, go here.