Chef Jared Van Camp Of Nellcôte And Old Town Social | Tasting Table - Chicago

The Nellcôte and Old Town Social chef is a green machine

You may know Jared Van Camp by the pasta, pizza and bread he makes at Randolph Street's Nellcôte, all crafted from Midwestern wheat that he mills in-house.

What you may not know is that the chef (of Old Town Social, Nellcôte and RM) suffers from Type 1 diabetes, meaning he can only taste, not eat, the fruits of his labor.

In May of 2012, shortly after opening Nellcôte, he began losing his eyesight because of the disease. "It was a wake-up call, scary as hell, yadda yadda," he recounts. "But I reversed the situation with healthier eating and exercise."

The key: He said goodbye to fruit and carbohydrates and hello to vegetables and protein. Breakfast is a green smoothie, a flavorful, energy-packed, salad-like mixture flavored with cucumber, lemon and ginger (see the recipe). We'd happily start every day with one.

His go-to for lunch out is Lula Café: "A side of roasted beets with dill, a side of raw kale salad and the Asian coleslaw–those three make a perfect lunch."

For dinner it's The Publican, a favorite for creative seafood and vegetable dishes: "I recently had a carrot dish at Publican–roasted carrots with Indian spices and yogurt–that was so simple but just blew my mind."

His diet has even changed Nellcôte; they've introduced a "local vegetables" section to the menu, packed with seasonal vegetarian and vegan dishes, this month.