As Jacques Torres' profile is getting bigger, his waistline is getting smaller.
The French chocolatier and pastry chef is back for Nailed It! Holiday, which debuted Dec. 7 on Netflix. Since Nailed It! began streaming in March, viewers have watched and wondered how Torres got so slim—and now, he's telling all about how he lost "almost 60 lbs." in 2018.
"Working in food, I understand what food is good—and what food is less good," Torres says in an exclusive interview. "But, you know, when you reach 50 and 60 years old, your metabolism doesn't work the same. Some people are heavy and in very good health. But me? I was heavy, and my liver was what we call a 'fat liver.' And a fat liver is a sign that you'll have trouble later."
Concerned, Torres consulted his doctor. "Knowing what I do, he thought sugar was a big cause," he recalls. "Instead of tasting, like chefs usually do, I was tasting a little bit too heavily. I was eating too much. We thought, 'OK, carbs and sugar are maybe the main problem.' So, I needed a nutritionist to work with me. Basically, you send pictures of everything you eat—portion size and whatever you want to put in your mouth—and she said 'yes' or 'no.' She would answer right away: 'Eat that and that, but leave that to the side,' or 'Eat two thirds of that. Don't eat everything.' The good thing was she didn't cut too much too fast, and everything was gradual."
Torres became especially health conscious after his son's birth. "A lot of times, we know how to do it, but we don't do it for maybe a lack of reason," he says. "Having a young boy, a young child—my wife is pregnant with a little girl now—I have a good reason to change my lifestyle."
Because he doesn't have much time to exercise, Torres will ride a Citi bike to work and back. Keeping the weight off is easier said than done, of course. "You can commit to a diet for one year, but to commit to a diet for the rest of your life, it's tough. So, the biggest battle is now that I've lost the weight, you want to reward yourself by letting things go. But that's where things become a little bit tricky. [My nutritionist] doesn't want me to weigh myself every day—just one or two times a week. If I see variation, I react right away; I don't wait. Because losing a couple of pounds is easy; losing 10 lbs. is a battle," Torres, 59, says. "I talk to her whenever I need to. The support is important. She says, 'When you go to a restaurant, send me the menu.'"
"The nutritionist told me it would take time, and she was right. It's not something you can do fast. And if you do it too quickly, something is wrong," he says. "I feel definitely better. I can run after my little one a lot easier."
Torres' life has changed in other ways since Nailed It! premiered earlier this year. "It's fun to have people come up and say, 'Oh, you've taught me so much,'" he says. "It's very rewarding when people tell you that you're an inspiration. More than people knowing you, inspiring them is very satisfying. People ask me for advice all the time, showing me their desserts and wanting me to judge them." The show is "lighthearted," which makes his job a breeze. "Someone goes home with $10,000 and we make fun of everyone," he says. "They do the most crazy things!"