Fit to Fight: Miami Chefs Compete in Weight Loss Challenge for Charity

Greg Powers
Last year Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars alum Mike Isabella participated in a challenge to save lives and shed pounds dubbed Fit for Hope. The Washington, D.C. fundraiser pitted 12 chefs against one another over the course of 12 weeks and raised more than $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Because of the positive impact it had on Isabella's life, he's decided to regionalize the challenge and make it Miami-appropriate. He's picked captain and regional host Jamie DeRosa to head Fit to Fight, which kicks off Monday, June 30, with a party open to the public at Tongue & Cheek.

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"Mike and I have been fans of each other's work for a while, and he'd told me about his experience last year in Washington," DeRosa says. "We thought it would be a good idea to gain more exposure for the charity and try to include friends and colleagues here in Miami."

DeRosa was in charge of inviting chefs to participate in the challenge. "I had a long list, and everyone I reached out to first responded immediately. The chance to come together for this great charitable organization is the driving force."

Fit to Fight will raise funds for Live to Fight, a nonprofit started by cancer survivor and martial arts lover Kristen Brown. Brown and her board of directors, including Ottavia Bourdain (Anthony Bourdain's wife), raise money and offer support for people with life-threatening diseases.

As of Monday, participating chefs Jacob Anaya (OTC), Tim Andriola (Timó), Julian Baker (Toscana Divino), Timon Balloo (Sugarcane), Andre Bienvenu (Joe's Stone Crab),
Sean Brasel (Meat Market), Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar), Todd Erickson (Haven and HuaHua's), Brad Kilgore (J&G Grill), Dena Marino (MC Kitchen), and Ralph Pagano (Alba Seaside Italian and Naked Taco) will weigh in at the kickoff event at Tongue & Cheek, where they will find out more information about their trainer, gym program, and goals for the 12-week challenge.

Training director and NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist Ben Isabella ( Mike's brother) will work with local gyms and trainers who volunteer to help contestants by providing gym access and training sessions.

"For all of us, it's going to be about putting that pressure on us to get motivated and, more than anything, make a lifestyle change," DeRosa says. "Mine is to lose weight and change what I eat, how I eat, when I eat, and turn this into a routine and something I'll be able to continue to do on my time, my style, and my fashion."

Location Info

Tongue & Cheek

431 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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Way to go! Anyway, just wanna share,  research shows that a professional healthy weight loss exercise for your body type burns 3x more fat and is twice as enjoyable.  It also patronizes eating the proper food to have good metabolism for faster fat loss which shows best result.


It is nice that Chefs may use theior image to help raise funds for example. i hope that this new initiative is a success and benefits a larger number of people.

The ability to get rid of unnecessary fat in particular is something that could help regarding diabetes and obesity for example. I am saying this based on my understanding of what I have read concerning the link between weight loss and these conditions.

A video I have watched the first time not extremely long ago gave me information that I was not necessarily expecting about weight loss. There is a link to it on this page:

However, I don't believe in depriving oneself completely from delicious, tasty and lawful food just to follow a particular diet. If it can be followed over the long term, does it truly help?

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