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Waterbar Chef Parke Ulrich’s Tips on Healthy Dining at a Restaurant or Work

Lunch can present a minefield for working adults. It may mean dining at restaurants that serve gargantuan portions. Or it may mean bringing an unsatisfying, unhealthy prepackaged lunch to the office. Parke Ulrich knows a thing or two about food and healthy eating. He’s executive chef at San Francisco’s highly acclaimed Waterbar. Ulrich’s commitment to sustainably sourced seafood and fresh, local, organically-grown produce guide the restaurants daily-changing menu. And when it comes to healthy eating, Ulrich is all about “moderation.” We asked him about healthy eating at the office … or a restaurant. 

What advice would you give people who go out for lunch and who want to eat a healthy meal?

I eat lighter, especially if it’s hot outside: ceviche, salads, etc.

How do you eat healthfully when you’re at a restaurant, your own included?

I share a lot with the people I am with.  We may do all appetizers and no entrées. It is about moderation.

What’s your favorite healthy lunch that you might make for yourself – ideally one that people could make for themselves and bring to the office?

Chopped vegetable salad.  Use raw finely chopped veggies – whatever you have – and dress them with vinaigrette. (See salad recipe below.)  The vinaigrette will soften (cook) the veggies over time. Quinoa is also great to add.

What are your go-to superfoods that can be included in everyday eating?

Couscous, quinoa, chia seeds – all are very quick to prepare!

What foods do you typically avoid for health reasons.

I do not avoid.  It is about moderation and enjoying life!  If I go for something fatty or rich then I am also balancing with fresh, and light.

Do you have a simple salad recipe that uses olive oil and that people could make for their lunch they bring to the office? (See below.)

Chopped Vegetable Salad

2 oz. each, finely chopped raw broccoli, carrot, summer squash

2 oz. marinated artichokes, chopped finely

2 oz. cherry tomatoes

3 oz. lemon vinaigrette (see below)

Mix all together in bowl or zip lock bag and store for transportation.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Keep chilled

Lemon Vinaigrette

Juice and zest of two lemons

2 oz. champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1/2 cup California Olive Ranch Arbequina extra virgin olive oil

Place ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or small glass.  Using a  blender or stick blender, mix and slowly add the oil to emulsify to a creamy texture.  You may need to adjust with more lemon or more oil, depending on your taste and how much juice you get from lemons.  I like it assertive and tangy – not overly oily, as that will take away from the flavor of the vegetables.

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch



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