Meet an Australian chef and cookbook author who really has his plate full: Dan Churchill is the Executive Chef at Charley St. Café in New York City, host of his Feast With Friends show – and he’s constantly creating recipes for his YouTube and Instagram followers. Dan also knows the importance of food, fitness and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to being an avid surfer who recently completed a marathon, he was the personal chef for skier Lindsey Vonn during the 2018 Olympics.
Here’s how healthy NYC-based chef, Dan Churchill makes the most of his hectic schedule:
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One day on and still on an emotional high… legs are clearly loving me, but it’s super important to keep them moving. It’s now all about the recovery. Thanks for all the messages of support for @mdateammomentum Time for a few days in Portland with @underarmour with a new epic launch
Mondays are always a big day for me in terms of starting the week on a good foot. I always start my day with Athletic Greens taken with water on an empty stomach. It ensures I feel my best, and (apart from making my bed) I know this is one good thing I’ve done for myself to start the day off. Mondays are also usually my day to catch up with the staff at Charley St.
No matter where I am for meetings or community events, I try to make it back to the restaurant for a big lunch in the middle of the day. I load up my bowl with colorful spreads, greens, veggies and protein. Since I usually hit the gym early in the day, this is my time to get in those restorative and reparative nutrients.
Tuesday I often have lots of meetings, and this one is no exception. Today I have a meeting with a photographer to talk about the new Studio KItchen we’re building in the basement of the restaurant. This is a project we’re hoping to have done by the start of the new year, and the space is currently being used for storage. We talk through lighting options, colors, and how to get the space camera-ready!
Today I also have a top-secret meeting that involves kombucha. I am a big fan of gut-healthy foods, as they’re so powerful for digestion. I have tried to add both prebiotic and probiotic foods to the menu at Charley St (like yogurt, pickled onion, and sweet potato), so that with your meal you’re getting a boost of those good bacteria — and allowing them to thrive so that you maintain healthy digestion.
Dinner today is a veggie harvest bowl made by my lovely girlfriend at my place. When we eat together, I always love to see the ideas she comes up with that I might not have thought of. Meals are often a collaborative effort, and I love getting others involved whenever I can. This is one of my favorite things about being a cook, not only in the kitchen but in my own home as well.
After my morning Athletic Greens juice and a couple of eggs, I hit the gym for a training session. I recently ran the NYC marathon, and I’m getting back into training my legs. While I was training for the marathon I had definitely missed these epic heavy lifting sessions, and it feels great to be back.
After my session, I refuel with my favorite: PB&J Oatmeal! This is actually on the menu at Charley St, because it’s that much of a favorite for me. I combine oats, mashed banana, almond or coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla on the stove. Once cooked through, I add some peanut butter and a berry compote, and top off with a bit more banana. It’s fueling, nourishing, and if you want an extra boost of protein you can also add in your favorite protein powders. Then it’s time to get back to the restaurant for more meetings and cooking!
Late in the day I have a shoot with my own photographer, and we’re making a bunch of exciting recipes to go on my blog and YouTube channel. These are a secret for now, but I always love getting creative when it comes to recipes, each one with its own DC healthy spin. And whenever a subscriber requests a recipe, I’m always sure to add it to my list — it’s usually something I would not have thought of!
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With so much going on… it is really important to clear & rest the mind. A bit of mindfulness meditation has really helped my game big time. If you have ever felt restless, unable to sleep, constantly scattered I would recommend giving this a go. If you need further thoughts feel free to reach out as I am here for you! Got a sweat session in this morning, before a bit of this… then time to play chef at @charleyst 👨🍳✌️😁
Today is all about training Charley St’s chefs on our seasonal menu. I get in early to test some of the recipes myself, and make sure that the way I’ve written them out is easy to follow and understand for everyone who will be making it. Then we all get to test out what the chefs have prepared — yes, this is one of my favorite things about this job. We never go hungry!
Later in the day I have what I call my “Thinking Time.” This is a scheduled 30 minutes twice each week where all I do is sit and think, and sometimes I’ll journal my thoughts. I try to avoid getting distracted during this time, as it’s an incredibly valuable way for me to work through what has been on my mind and any ideas that have been floating around in there!
After this I refuel with a big lunch — today I’m enjoying Charley St’s Down to Earth Bowl, which has recently become a favorite for me. It has a base of our roasted garlic hummus, wild rice, roasted eggplant, our mushroom ragu, arugula, pickled onion and tomato, and whipped goat cheese. I usually add a protein to this as well, and we do a phenomenal poached chicken with herbs.
I try to keep my Fridays relatively open so that I can finish up anything that needs to get done before the end of the week. Fridays are also when I meet with the other co-founders of the restaurant and we chat through everything that has been going on over the past week. It’s a great time to catch up with the boys. We usually enjoy flat whites and Charley St’s OG Avo Smash while we chat.
Tonight I’m off to a Sixers game! I always look forward to the chance to get out of the city and do something new. For the train ride I bring some of my peanut butter bites and some fresh veg to snack on until we get there. It’s a fantastic game and a great way to enjoy a Friday night.
As a chef there aren’t too many days I have off, so over the weekend I like to make sure that I’m getting in some rest and time away with friends and family. While I don’t usually have any set “plans” for Saturdays, it’s our busiest day at the restaurant, so I’m usually there most of the day. I’ll be prepping food, helping the staff, and overseeing anything that might need my attention.
For lunch I have one of our winter menu items, the Aussie Shakshuka. This is a take on the Mediterranean classic, with a spicy tomato base, poached eggs, tahini sauce, and some pesto. I always serve it up with a slice of sourdough.
For weekend dinners, I usually try to keep my plans open so that I can get a chance to check out a new restaurant in the city. By the end of the day on Saturday, I’m wiped out and definitely needing some sleep.
Sunday is another pretty big day for me. I’m doing an all-day photoshoot today, so I start my morning with my Athletic Greens and a hearty breakfast after I hit the gym. Then it’s time to get shooting. We have six recipes to shoot today, and they’re all delicious — we’ll have plenty of food leftover when this is done!
It can be tough when you’re on set to make sure you actually eat a full meal and maintain a routine — if you haven’t noticed, routines are huge for me! So I try to block out some time in any shoot to eat a colorful and nutritious lunch. This time we get delivery from the restaurant before it’s time to head back in front of the camera!