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Weight loss surgeon meets weight loss chef

Surgeon Howard Simon MD, left, talks with Chef Dave Fouts. Photo by Debbie Rexine.

Surgeon Howard Simon MD, left, talks with Chef Dave Fouts. Photo by Debbie Rexine.

Upstate bariatric surgeon Howard Simon MD and Chef Dave Fouts met recently to host a class on healthy cooking. Chef Dave, who once tipped the scales at more than 400 pounds, had weight loss surgery 10 years ago and calls himself the world‘s first bariatric chef.

Simon, whose top-ranked surgical team has performed 3,000+ bariatric surgeries, is expanding the Upstate service to the Community campus.

Author of “Ditch Your Diet in 30 Days," “Cookwise,” and “Weight Loss Surgery Cooking for Dummies,” Fouts shared recipes with Simon, demonstrated several quick and healthy meals (see recipe below) and gave humorous advice to health-conscious cooks: “Make your kitchen your own personal health food store”…. “Skip no-fat cheese….it doesn‘t cook right, and it tastes terrible”… “To keep lean ground meat tasty, don‘t brown it, ‘gray‘ it to keep the moisture in. Then, rinse the meat to get the fat off, put it back in the pan and add seasoning.”

Earlier in the day, school administrators met Fouts at the cafeteria at Upstate University Hospital's Community campus for tips on creating healthier school lunches. His advice: "If you can give students two choices for lunch (a hot entrée and a cold sandwich), do it. But, make sure the entrée is healthy and delicious, and the alternate is less appealing. That will encourage the students to “choose healthy.”

Simon shares some of his food advice, specifically for people who have had weight-loss surgery: Don't drink fluids while eating; omit any food with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients; and eliminate carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content from your diet.

Fouts was interviewed on Health Link on Air, Upstate's weekly radio program, during his visit to Syracuse. Previously, Simon and Taewan Kim MD were interviewed about weight loss surgery.

potpielasagna-smlHomemade Chicken Pot Pie Lasagna, from Chef Dave Fouts


12 pieces whole wheat lasagna, cooked

1 pound boneless chicken breast, diced

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup thinly sliced carrot

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and well drained

nonstick cooking spray

Sauce ingredients

12 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups nonfat milk

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

15 ounces ricotta cheese, part skim milk

1 1/2 cups shredded part skim milk mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray; place over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and saute 4 minutes or until cooked through. Drain well and set aside.

Recoat saute pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms, carrots, green onions and peas and saute 6 minutes. Set aside.

Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a wire whisk until blended; stir in sherry. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in thyme, salt and red pepper. Reserve 1 cup of sauce and set aside. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Swiss cheese.

Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. Arrange four pieces of the lasagna over the sauce. Top with half of the ricotta cheese mixture, half of the chicken mixture and half of the remaining sauce mixture. Repeat layers, ending with four pieces of lasagna. Spread reserved 1 cup of sauce over the last complete layer of lasagna, being sure to cover the lasagna completely. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for an hour.

Uncover lasagna, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on top and bake an additional 5 minutes uncovered. Re-cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Cut into 12 equal portions.

Nutritional information

Per serving: 310 calories, 25 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat (3.5 saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 430 milligrams sodium.

Percent daily value: vitamin A, 50 percent; vitamin C, 4 percent; calcium, 35 percent; iron, 10 percent.