The Pastry Chef Pushing Restraint

As a pastry chef with more than 20 years’ experience, Big Night Out Restaurant Group stalwart and television personality Emily Luchetti (pictured) is known for her chocolate desserts and old-school cakes. So, it may come as a surprise to hear Emily also advocates consumers being mindful of their desserts and limiting their sugar indulgences.

Last year, the San Franciscan patissiere wrote a manifesto and launched a social media campaign called #dessertworthy to remind pastry chefs and consumers that sweets should be savoured and eaten in moderation.

The movement aims to increase consumer knowledge of hidden sugars in processed foods and to empower consumers to engage with a community of online supporters who are making active attempts to sweeten life with healthy intentions.

In less than a year, more than 1000 people have shared photos of desserts they deem ‘dessert worthy’ on Instagram, and the campaign has reached more than 200,000 users on Twitter.

Emily said the more momentum the campaign gains, the more dessert will be returned to its origin: food to be consumed as an occasional treat and not an everyday indulgence.

“We’re not saying, ‘don’t eat dessert’, we’re acknowledging consumers should be picky about their dessert intake. Enjoy dessert in moderation or earn sweet treats by combining them with healthy eating and fitness,” Emily said.

This is where the #dessertworthy social media campaign comes in handy. It creates a supportive forum to make a real-time, real-life impact on the way people manage, but still enjoy, sweets as part of a balanced diet.

“Dessert is being consumed by adults and children at an alarming rate, resulting in troubling health issues, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. #dessertworthy is just another part of the dialogue about healthy lifestyle choices, raising awareness about sugar-laden processed food,” Emily said.

Now, it’s time to bring the conversation to Australia, with Emily encouraging bakers and pastry chefs to add flavour with seasonal produce, rather than added sugar.

You don’t need calories for flavour, perfume and texture. I love doing things with in-season produce; apricots, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries,” she said, acknowledging she also enjoys experimenting with alternative flours.

“This is where little pieces of 70 per cent and 85 per cent cacao start to tick all the boxes. They taste delicious and have that sweetness to kick the craving. But the bitterness means a small amount is enough to satiate the consumer.”

Rebelling against the generous portion sizes her US compatriots are so well-known for, Emily said industry and consumers needs to re-think moderation.

“I am a true believer in sharing desserts and having just a sliver or a taste. The first two bites taste the best!” she said.

Join the conversation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook via #dessertworthy.

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