‘Calorie Count Menus’ – Maria Elia’s rant of the week

Spoon HQ is debating our forthcoming dinner reservations after reading Maria Elia’s latest blog posting (see below). Maria has got us thinking about our menu choices when we eat out – especially as our ‘beach bodies’ are to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Which side of the debate do you dine on?


Maria Elia by Joakim Blokstrom

Calorie counted menus are my rant this week!

Last week Alex Gauthier’s restaurant ‘Gauthier Soho’ became the first Michelin starred establishment in Britain to introduce calorie counts on his menu. Further investigation led me to discover that his concern with calorie counting was due to being diagnosed with fatty liver disease (so he has to watch his calorific intake).

In New York calorie counted menus are common practice since the introduction of a law in 2008. But, here at home, would a menu annotated with the calorific value of each dish put you off ordering? As a chef having to calculate the calories every time I created a new dish would be the same as putting me in a creative straight jacket!


At JOE’S we are pretty health conscious and try to offer a balanced menu; occasionally we’ll put on a deep fried dish, but surely life is about balance and a little bit of what you fancy every now and then! Surely if you are health conscious and follow a specific diet you research what you can and cannot eat?

There are, after all, many foods that are high in calories but with excellent nutritional benefits. One avocado for example contains 275 calories, 28g of sunflower seeds contain 164 calories, and a chicken breast has 342. A 120 ml glass of wine (lets face it, who drinks a glass that small?) has 87 calories; which leads me nicely on to my next point… Surely if you are going to show the calorific value of food on a menu – you should do the same for the wine, spirit and cocktail list?

At JOE’S we offer a health conscious balanced menu and we’re always happy to accommodate individual needs, rant over!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts………..

Maria Elia is executive chef at JOE’S Draycott Avenue

This entry was posted in JOE'S, London Restaurant PR, Spoon Blog 2011 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘Calorie Count Menus’ – Maria Elia’s rant of the week

  1. Bon Vivant says:

    I am torn with this argument – on one hand, I don’t want to distract from the enjoyment of eating by worrying about calories, but if you eat out regularly (whether for business or pleasure), it can be very tricky to figure out the ‘healthy option’. Perhaps the best solution would be to have two printed menus – one with and one without calorie content, and let the diner decide?

    Bon Vivant

  2. Kath Harding says:

    I second Maria’s motion! I think it’s completely ridiculous and a very unnecessary typically American approach quoting calorie counts. If we went down that route then every menu might as well have an infographic of all the good and bad nutritional facts of all ingredients used. All sounds a bit OTT to me and takes the fun out of eating out. Besides, don’t people go out to eat to treat themselves? Even if it is a business lunch or dinner it’s still a treat. What’s the point of a treat being less of a treat if you are limited to the things on the menu that have the lowest calorie count. Maybe every menu should have a weight-watchers stamp of approval also! 😉

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