With elbows-deep bowls of pasta and over-flowing grilled cheese with tomato soup dominating our Instagram feeds, it can take a thorough examination to remember the intrinsic wellness aspect of food. Rising national interest in “food as medicine” paired with rising levels of diabetes and obesity confuse the connection further. Are the wellness and culinary worlds getting closer together or farther apart?
It’s true that the average upscale urban menu would be chastised not to feature a dozen seasonal vegetables. But it’s also true that, at least in Instagram’s theatrical portrayal of it, starring roles in food culture are given to unicorn Fudgesicles, obsessively-designed cakes, downpours of Nutella, oozing plates of lasagna and an occasional kitten streaked by a rainbow light (accidentally making its way into the feed via clickbait.)
Despite the noise, food’s responsibility to nourish us is still (biologically, and relentlessly) tantamount to its responsibility to please or entertain us. In smaller circles on the food feed and in-real-life food circus, wellness influencers (like Max Lugavere and Seamus Mullen) are delivering strong messages that food is inherently engaged with health and wellness. If you hang with them long enough, you’ll start to wonder why you waited so long on that Nutella Cafe line.
Both camps have fans—that of health and matcha making, and that of milkshake and wagyu finding—and they can seem irreconcilably divided, and sometimes territorial. It’s not uncommon for seasoned foodies to hold their ground and speak with some level of disdain for the myopic nature of the “wellness world.” (Maybe because that world seems to too often, and even flippantly, ban entire food groups from its approval, often to take them back the next year.) And as for wellness gurus, the idea that top chefs are still using granulated sugar to torch their crème brûlées is enough to bring them to tears.
With so much separating the culinary and wellness worlds, it’s refreshing to see entities combining the two. Below are five mashups you could feel comfortable going to—in restaurant gear or your stretchiest running pants—despite your camp.
Cheers to your good health (and Instagram feed) this season.
During December and January, the farm invites guests to experience the thrill of the chase with guided fox hunting followed by elaborate feasts. Each weekend of hunting season features something unique, ranging from a “spectacular falconry demonstration” in January to a “hunt on foot featuring National Champion Octorara Beagles” in February.
Dailey Method in Washington, D.C. offer 45-minute barre classes followed by brunch and mimosas. Students crowd in for an afternoon of socializing with all the good vibes brought up from the signature sweat. Restaurants like KBC in Dothan, Alabama (helmed by Café Boulud alum and current Top Chef competitor Kelsey Barnard Clark) also offer monthly barre-to-brunch events on the first Saturday of every month, hosting a free class in the restaurant’s lawn followed by cocktails. (Donations are given to a local animal shelter.)
Browse #barretobrunch for sessions near you.
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Patowmack Farms outside of Washington, D.C., to Baton Rouge and beyond. One 2014 Chopped alum—who shot and fished the meal she made on Chopped, herself—has made it an ongoing format. Her company From Mat to Table hosts events that begin with a yoga session, followed by an educational culinary conversation and lastly a meal. Unroll your yoga and mat and pull up a seat. These events are BYOB and BYOM (bring-your-own-mat).
Check out Winter Village’s calendar for special events here.
Hero image courtesy of Seamore's.