Sweat Diaries: The Philly Chef Who Loves Yoga and Fruit Smoothies

Scarpetta executive chef Michael Loughlin takes us through his week of yoga, cooking, and new fatherhood.

Scarpetta’s Executive Chef, Michael Loughlin, is also a yoga teacher and father to a newborn son. / Photograph courtesy of Michael Loughlin.

Who I am: Michael Loughlin (@michaelalbertii), 37

Where I live: Manayunk

What I do: I am the Executive Chef of Scarpetta Philadelphia, an Italian restaurant located in The Rittenhouse Hotel. When I am not at the restaurant, I practice and teach yoga at HotBox Yoga, and am a husband and new father to my son, Atlas.

What role healthy living plays in my life: For me, yoga is both a tactic and a road to daily fulfillment, which means living through reinforced decisions played out by way of karma. These decisions continue while traveling on the road toward goals and benchmarks; therefore, my daily personal fulfillment is driven by a transmission of success. To sum it up in mantra: “I practice healthy living and I am rewarded with healthy fulfillment.”

Health memberships (and what they cost):

  • HotBox Yoga — $79 per month (unlimited membership for yoga teachers)


Loughlin tries to start each day with a homemade fruit smoothie. / Photograph by Michael Loughlin.

7 a.m. — Wake up, take a shower and get a baby bottle ready. I get a diaper ready, along with a new onesie, and prepare for feeding of my new baby boy, Atlas, within the next hour and a half.

9:30 a.m. — Begin practice at HotBox Yoga. I prefer a 60-minute ashtanga-based sequence.

11 a.m. — Return home and begin preparing a fresh fruit smoothie. Today’s is peach, strawberry, acai, hemp seeds, and kefir. Yum.

12:30 p.m. — I arrive at Scarpetta and begin organizing prep lists and production for the day.

2 p.m. — Time to prep the staff meal for the entire 20-person staff. Today is arugula salad with red onion and tomato with red wine vinaigrette, as well as brown rice with black beans, broccoli, and braised rabbit.

5 p.m. — Head to pre-shift for 20 minutes, which consists of staff training and education, motivation, and answering any questions the staff may have. After, I’ll check my kitchen staff’s prep on the stations to make sure we’re good to go, and gear up for service at 6 p.m.

9 p.m. — Solid service so far today. About half-way through, I like to check each kitchen station to figure out what needs to be ordered for the next business day.

12 a.m. — Work is done, and by this time I am back at home to check in with my family. The baby is sleeping and my wife is content, so I make myself a snack of almond butter, bananas, raisins, and yogurt before heading to bed.

Daily total: $0


As Executive Chef, Loughlin is in charge of preparing the staff meal, like this beautiful arugula, tomato, and hard-boiled egg salad. / Photograph by Michael Loughlin.

7:30 a.m. — Start with my usual morning routine: wake up, take a shower, prepare the baby bottle and diaper.

9:30 a.m. — On my way to yoga, I stop for a caffeine boost at Volo. I was feeling a little sluggish this morning, and this espresso is going to be a nice way to excite my athletic state.

11 a.m. — Today, fresh fruit is needed. I snag a great deal on a case of mangoes, two bunches of organic bananas, strawberries and black grapes, and then head home to make a smoothie. I also freeze extra chunks of fruit so that I simply have to place in blender tomorrow, which helps when I’m pressed for time.

11:30 a.m. — My wife’s smoothie recipe prevails today! Lactose-free and full of flavor, the smoothie consists of strawberry, banana, and Green Valley Organics whole milk yogurt.

12 p.m. — My mother-in-law stops by to babysit and brings a surprise salad! The combination is cherry tomatoes and zucchini from her garden with red onion, baby arugula, and fresh mozzarella. It’s dressed with red wine vinegar, garlic, pepperoncino, honey, sea salt and EVOO. Her seasoning is perfect!

1 p.m. — I arrive to work a little late today, but I had a lot of fun with Atlas, Elizabeth and Mom so it’s worth it to pick up the pace.

4 p.m. — Finish staff meal which includes arugula, plum tomatoes, green apples, feta cheese and red wine vinegar. I also hard boiled some eggs for protein.

5 p.m. — Pre-shift begins. This week, I’ve been more thoughtful with my motivation element of pre-shift. I’m going to use the whole week to build on the concept of guest interaction, which is imperative since it drives the emotional experience of the evening. I rarely get to interact with guests, so I encourage the front of house staff to understand the behavior patterns of guests to further the experience.

5:30 p.m. — Checking that everything is in place when I notice we’re missing pea puree for our raw scallop crudo. Thankfully we had a backup!

9 p.m. — Time to collect orders.

12 a.m. — I’m home now and everyone is sleeping, so I eat a Pure Protein bar, shower and head to bed.

Daily total: $28.47


One of Loughlin’s go-to restaurants is Ekta in Fishtown. / Photograph by Michael Loughlin.

8 a.m. — Today is my day off! Elizabeth is taking care of Atlas, which means I get to sleep in a bit.

9 a.m. — Arrive at the studio early and do a pre-flow routine.

11:30 a.m. — I’m thankful for the smoothie prep I did yesterday, as now all I need to do is blend and enjoy! Today’s combination is black plums, cherries, mango, banana, and raw honey.

1 p.m. — The whole family heads to Ekta in Fishtown. We’re regulars, and they already know our order when they see us, which is great considering we brought a five-week-old baby with us. They bring out our favorites: paneer malai methi, chicken vindaloo, and onion naan. My wife and I get completely blissed out on this food and we always have leftovers.

3 p.m. — We head to Whole Foods to pick up some groceries. Today’s list includes a whole bunch of veggies and snacks (yogurt, almond butter, hummus).

5 p.m. — Time to mow the lawn. I use a manual mower (no gas, no electric) and it’s not only a great project for our property’s outside aesthetic, it’s also a killer 30-minute workout to boot!

7 p.m. — Nap time!

9 p.m. — I prepare Elizabeth and I a nighttime smoothie. I try to stay away from fruit at night, because the fruit sugars make my muscles burn more the next morning in yoga. Tonight’s combination is filtered water, spinach, avocado, cucumber from our garden, green apple, lime, tofu and Edensoy original organic soy milk.

Daily total: $75.42


Loughlin and Scarpetta General Manager, Drew Carballo, at Philadelphia Style’s Best of Style event. / Photograph courtesy of Michael Loughlin.

7:30 a.m. — Wake up and help out with the baby before packing my lunch: almond butter, raisins, and two bananas on Alvarado Street sourdough (very simple yet effective). I’ll grab a quick espresso from Volo just to rev the engine before class.

9:30 a.m. — I had a great yoga practice today, replete with multiple handstands!

11 a.m. — Today is a huge day in chef life. Tonight, Scarpetta is participating in Philadelphia Style’s Best of Style event. We’re making one of our signature hand-made pasta dishes to serve to 1,300 attendees. To prepare, I drive to get the dry ice needed to keep the food fresh for the event.

12:30 p.m. — Arrive at work and begin organizing prep lists and production. In addition to Best of Style, the restaurant has a huge hors d’oeuvre party, so I work with my sous chef Alberto to complete necessary prep.

4 p.m. — We just finished all the set up for the event and the party, and my offsite cart is ready to go!

5 p.m. — Head to pre-shift, where I expand on efforts to promote positive guest interaction. I encourage the staff to connect with a smile at every opportunity and to be as engaging as possible with the guests.

6 p.m. — My GM, Drew Carballo, and I are at The Kimmel Center for Best of Style, ready to go and looking sharp.

12 a.m. — Return home and eat a leftover salad that my wife made for us, which consists of cucumber, red onions, radish, mango, dill, EVOO, red wine vinegar and salt

Daily total: $0


Loughlin teaches and practices at HotBox Yoga. / Photograph courtesy of Michael Loughlin.

9 a.m. — I honestly woke up really late. Yikes! Where’s the crying baby alarm?

9:30 a.m. — Daily morning yoga practice, which I absolutely love.

11 a.m. — Prepare to teach yoga at Hotbox and journal. I always write at some point during my day about yoga philosophy.

11:45 a.m. — Teach my class!

2 p.m. — Get to work, catch up on office work and ensure everyone is set up for success.

5 p.m. — It’s an early day for me, so I head to Whole Foods to pick up dinner. Every once in a while, we cook something that’s special but still healthy. Tonight, this results in a dry aged, grass fed New York strip steak cooked to a perfect medium rare with garden ripe heirloom tomatoes and broccoli.

9 p.m. — Still dreaming of the smoothie I missed in the morning, so I make a fruit-based smoothie including ginger, banana, peach, red grapes and honey. (I know, I know too much sugar late at night…) Whatevs, at least it’s healthy!

Daily Total: $28.14

Weekly totals

Money spent: $132.03
Yoga practices completed: 5, plus 1 class taught
Smoothies made (and consumed): 5
Scarpetta guests served: Who’s counting?