Hot Chef, Cool Cuisine

Chef Michel Nischan of Fairfield makes a big stir in the Big Apple with uncluttered, wildly flavorful and elegantly healthful food.

The lanky, athletic, pony-tailed chef with the big smile is having a ball in the kitchen. In the swanky-chic front of his New York City eatery, thin, attractive people are ordering with abandon and eating with gusto. Roasted baby chicken with chopped pistachio nuts tucked under crisp golden skin. Curry- scented salmon with an emerald sauce redolent of sweet peas and mint. Thick, outrageously delicious tomato soup floating an avocado crouton. Mustard-crusted lamb and roasted eggplant stuffed with incredibly creamy risotto.

Why are these people not picking at their food, worrying about their waistlines? Because they’re eating at Heartbeat in the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue where Executive Chef Michel Nischan has crafted a cuisine so vibrant, lush and alluring, the word “low-fat” sounds like sacrilege and even “healthy” is likely to mislead. But health is on the plate here in succulent splendor, and even foodies who don’t give a thought to calories or cholesterol are flocking to partake. Hedonism without guilt.

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