Milton restaurant Abby Park’s executive chef Tony DeRienzo cooks the competition at his mixed martial arts matches.
It’s like anything in life, you have to practice every day to be really good at it. And if you take time off, you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. I’d say with culinary arts and martial arts it’s the same thing. If I’m not out there always looking at new ingredients and talking to chefs, you get a little stale. I’d say the same thing with mixed martial arts. Luckily for me, because [my trainer] fights in the UFC, [he] trains with all high-level fighters. He travels all the time. He’ll fight in Vegas; he’ll fight in Seattle; he’ll fight all over. He brings back all these great moves. Like, it’s just never-ending. You can practice it for 20, 30 years and still not know it all, believe it or not. I feel like culinary arts are the same way.
I weigh about 203 pounds. I was 205 yesterday, I’m 203 today, but it stays right around there. But we’ll see, tonight I’ll be 205 again. I’ll fight at 185, so I’ll diet down to 195, and then about two days before the fight I’ll cut 10 pounds. It basically happens overnight. I go in a sauna. All the water comes out of you, so you look all lean and ripped. During that period, I drink a gallon of water every day. The week before [the sauna], I start drinking two gallons, and, believe it or not, that helps get the water out of you.
I just put a menu item on a month ago, and we call it skinny salmon. We tried to come up with a name for it to do it justice, but it’s pistachio-crusted salmon, organic brown rice, asparagus and then it gets goji berry vinaigrette. It’s a superfruit from China, and it has antioxidants and vitamins B and C. The nutrients in it are ridiculous. I’ve made a mangosteen vinaigrette. I garnish some of my specials with hemp seed. It’s very high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which are very good for your heart and your cardiovascular system.
Chocolate chip ice cream and milk chocolate. Just, like, plain blocks of chocolate. I could eat it with a fork and a knife, you know?