Sam Talbot

Q&A with Sam Talbot

The chef on surfing, snacking and coping with diabetes.

Things you probably know about Sam Talbot: he was a breakout Top Chef star, runs two of-the-moment restaurants and is a regular on the NYC beach and nightlife circuits. Things you don't: he has diabetes and never leaves home without a snack. We grilled the 6'5" chef just before the release of his first book, The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries.

Number one reason for taking care of his body:
I’m a type 1 Diabetic, and I was diagnosed at age 12. So I really learned at a young age the importance of monitoring your blood sugar and watching your food intake.
 
Typical workouts:
I do a lot of abs and yoga and free weights. Sometimes at home. Sometimes at the gym.

What we'd be surprised to find in his fridge:
Shiratake noodles. Usually when people look in my fridge they’re like, "what the hell’s that?"

Typical breakfast:
Usually scrambled egg whites with almond milk.

Inspiration for his forthcoming book:
I really wanted to use the platform that I have to be able to educate others on the importance of eating well and what it can do for anybody — not just someone who is a diabetic. It doesn’t just come from my cooking, it comes from my whole lifestyle. You know: yoga, surfing, the outdoors, the whole nine.

How he snacks:
I make a lot of different low-carb, vegan stuff. And I carry juice boxes. I’m like a six year old. 

Best place for a hot date:
I like to go out of the city; either the Catskills or maybe cooking at home in Montauk.
 
Favorite fall farmer's market find:
I love that cooking gets a little more hearty and comforting and root vegetables start to pop. For me, it’s about making warm hearty stews. Things that warm the soul.

All-time favorite city:
I really love New York City. It’s so alive here. I also think Marin County is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Best vacation:
Brazil with my friends, Goose and Mike.

Style icons:
I dig Steve McQueen, Ralph Lauren and Hunter S. Thompson.

One thing in his wardrobe he can’t live without:
I wear a lot of vintage button-downs that I’ve collected from all across America from different small towns. I like things that tell a story.
 
Health heroes:
Gwyneth Paltrow is a great example of someone who is really trying to bring awareness to overall health. I think Dr. Oz is on the forefront of educating.

Pet peeve:
When the bottoms of my jeans get wet (laughs). You know, like when you’re walking and the heels of your pants get all wet?

Most surreal career moment:
Having Eric Ripert write the forward of my book.

What he eats to feel healthy:
My homemade Coconut Acai Crumble (find the recipe here). 

On his bucket list:
I don’t think I have one. I just fly by the seat of my pants.

Latest obsession:
I’m really loving my new One Touch Ultra Mini, my blood glucose reader to keep my blood sugar in check. It’s small and sleek, and it’s my favorite color: purple.

What he's totally over:
Phones.
 
Best gift he's ever received:
I’m kind of obsessed with my new Barbour jacket. My girlfriend gave it to me as a pre-birthday gift. My birthday’s in December, and since it’s so close to Christmas I always get screwed.

If he wasn't a chef:
I'd probably do something in fashion.

Message he'd like to send to the world. (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less):
Cook nice.

Photography by Joe Termini and Sarah Kehoe

Filed Under: Interviews