Donnie Ferneau Jr.

Executive Chef, The 1836 Club

What cuisine are you known for?

American farm-to-table (utilizing the best ingredients Arkansas has to offer)

What is your top tip for healthy eating?

Start choosing leaner proteins and reach for vegetables over bread. DRINK MORE WATER! Mountain Valley Spring water.

Simple suggestion for cooking healthier at home:

Try to support your local farmers by utilizing local ingredients. Stay away from simple carbohydrates (white breads, etc.). Stay away from fried foods; use your oven or grill more. [Eat] smaller portions of meat and larger portions of veggies.

What item on your menu do you most recommend to those looking for something healthy?

I suggest the Roasted Chicken Bowl (and add an egg). It is high in lean protein and high in fiber, and it contains complex carbohydrates that won’t spike your blood sugar. It contains 600 calories.

The food trend you're both loving right now?

In the central Arkansas food scene, I love the new juice bars popping up with healthy options (I don’t want to have to cook every night, c’mon now).

Superfoods — what are your favorites and how do you use them?

I love roasting, then chilling beets and using them in salads or anything for that matter. And Chia; its great in your smoothies and breakfast cereal. Water.

Ingredient you can’t live without and why?

Tequila, no reason necessary.

Must-have kitchen tool?

I must-have my mandolin from Sam’s Oriental because I use it every day. It's great for slicing onions, radishes, etc., and it's consistent every time.

Common misconception people have about eating healthy?

PSA: Arkansas, you don’t have to fry everything in order for it be good! And unfortunately, red wine packs on the pounds whether you want to believe it or not.

Outside of the kitchen, what is your fitness routine of choice?

Lifting. It’s the only true way I can clear my mind. Heavy weights and T Swift—who could ask for more?

Favorite meal of the day Breakfast
Coffee or tea Neither, fresh pressed juice
Favorite vegetable Mushrooms
Secret recipe you'll never reveal Tomato Bisque
Go-to meal when you're short on time Eggs with avocado, pumpkin seeds and sambal
Celebrity chef I want to have a beer with Michael Simon.
Guilty-pleasure food Cheeseburger with fried egg from Leo’s Greek Castle—get you some.
(Go back Inside The Kitchen with 7 Little Rock Chefs)