Chefs Turn to Prebiotics to Create Healthy, Flavorful Foods

By: Karen Dybis | August 31, 2020

Jimmy Schmidt, legendary executive chef at Detroit’s iconic London Chop House and a three-time James Beard Award winner, wants you to eat your prebiotics.

Well, Schmidt wants your probiotics to eat their prebiotics, but more about that in a moment. Schmidt is among a growing number of chefs, food experts and food historians who say that a plant-based diet that focused on the gut microbiome will not only make your digestive system happy but it likely will make you happier as well.

That whole happiness thing starts with prebiotics. What are these dietary wunderkinds? Prebiotics promote the growth of the “good” bacteria in our guts. In other words, prebiotics feed the probiotics. It’s the circle of life and healthy diets. 

Schmidt has studied prebiotics, probiotics and the gut microbiome since he first heard these terms as a chef years ago. He jokes that he thought just making a beautiful plate with delicious food and getting rave reviews was enough. These days, he and his partners at businesses including Lucky’s Noble BBQ are studying prebiotics as well as other life-improving food ingredients to create “better-for-you” recipes and dishes. 

“We are re-engineering food,” adding taste as well as nutrition, Schmidt said. “We want to make foods that you love that love you back. That way, you’re not giving anything up. You’re just doing something better that aligns with what your body wants.”

 For example, Lucky’s menu includes a curing process that uses prebiotics on its Wagyu beef. This avoids nasty nitrates but boosts flavor within this “great protein” and high-end ingredient, Schmidt said. Schmidt developed the prebiotics Lucky’s Noble BBQ uses.

“Prebiotics are definitely a good, friendly start to improving your diet,” Schmidt explained. “Having prebiotics with probiotics increases your chances for success. … The microbiome is like the core of our universe. Think of it like a big condo for (that healthy bacteria). If you make them happy, they can promote making you happy.” 

Here are a few more Metro Detroit restaurants, food connoisseurs and ingredient masters who love prebiotics as well as probiotics. 

Estia

Whether you’re in Warren or in Troy, check out Estia and its Greek street food. This food truck and catering company focuses on nutrition in all of its dishes, giving its ingredients the focus and love they feel they deserve. That is why you’ll find lots of veggies, proteins and healthy prebiotics as well as their best friends, the probiotics, in all of its work. 

The Brinery

The best thing about these biotics is the kinds of foods where you can find them, and The Brinery is brilliant at creating them. Think kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut and hot sauce. Using the ancient art of fermentation, they create living foods that highlight the positive attributes of ingredients such as cabbage and the like to create probiotic deliciousness. 

Better Health

These stores and eateries are found around Metro Detroit, bringing nutrition and helpful staff together under one roof. There are a variety of prebiotics and probiotics throughout Better Health’s aisles, whether you want to try them through prepared foods or through individual ingredients. 

Neu Kombucha

If you want your biotics in a bubbly, good-for-you drink, then Neu Kombucha has you covered. Kombucha as a drink brings together many healthy and organic ingredients to create a one-of-a-kind drink experience. You can find its kombucha at its Farmington store or at great farmers’ markets such as Eastern Market in Detroit or the Royal Oak Farmers Market.