Top chef and Diet Coke pairing

Look, I really like chef Colicchio. I think he's talented, has a great personality and I also like his approach to giving back. This week I posted his top 5 tips on Holiday cooking. They all make a lot of sense and you can watch them right here:

Now, as much as I like Chef Colicchio, I really take issue with his disappointing (from a nutritional, ethical and conviviality standpoint) "Eat tastefully campaign" in association with Diet Coke, the American Diabetic Association and the CIA (not the spies, the chefs!).

You can read the press release here: Eat Tastefully Campaign: Diet Coke, Renowned Chef, Pop-Up Kitchen Reveal Secrets to Great Taste, Living Well

Chef Colicchio touts the merits of a soda because "it's not overly complicated". I'm not a physician or a nutritionist but talking about enjoying uncomplicated things, I've long known that our body only needs one, count them, one beverage: water.

Sure, milk is part of a healthy diet, and so is, in moderation and for many different reasons, wine, especially red wine.

But soda?.. Why would soda be part of a healthy diet? Something you pour on your corroded battery so you can start your car? Really?.. Come on, Chef Colicchio can't really be serious. A soda is a soda. You don't fight childhood, teenage and adult obesity, diabetes and poor nutrition habits with more of the same. Drinking "Diet" soda is a very easy, uneffective way out of a bigger problem: changing our nutrition habits once and for all.

The fact that Diet Coke has no calorie and no sugar is totally irrelevant. The (bad) habit of drinking a soda with your meal is a tough habit to break. Regularly drinking soda with your meal can't be a good thing, no matter what Chef thinks. And actually, I don't find him very convincing when he struggles to explain the gourmet meal/Diet Coke pairing at 1:30. Citrus bite to it? Caramel flavors?..

This is not the first time I scorn at celebrity chefs teaming up with junk food corporations. A few months ago, I commented on Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi's commercial for Carl Jr's.

Now, I know, I know, all this sounds very hypocritical. I'm a chef who follows a healthy, natural way of eating and cooking. But if only I could get rid of some of the junk food publicity on my blog, that would be a good thing too!

What do YOU think? Post a comment below and take the poll.

Is Chef Colicchio right to use his celebrity chef image to promote Diet Coke as a component of "eating well with great taste"?(survey)

Chef Gui Alinat is a regular contributor to the CL Daily Loaf. He is also a local executive chef, blogger and food writer. You can check out his blog at www.chefgui.com. You can follow him on twitter.

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