A chef accompanies people during their greatest times of joy, and in their lowest times of sadness. My career—feeding hungry people—is part of my physical identity and has become my spiritual identity as well. The meals I prepare are a form of art that everyone seemingly loves to eat. I love to cook, and I love to eat! Why is this a problem? I am morbidly obese. So much so that I recently opted to have gastric bypass surgery. I wondered if the surgeon’s knife could really bring a successful outcome to this food-addicted chef’s lifetime of stress, humiliation, obsession and internal conflict.

Robert Siegel illustration