ALEXANDRIA, VA [Jan. 9, 2006] - Last month, New York City became the first U.S. city to ban all trans fats in restaurants.
With the ongoing health and wellness boom in American society, and with legislative bans or voluntary reductions under consideration in several other major metropolitan areas, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and the state of New Jersey, restaurants in all jurisdictions are having to respond to the needs of an increasingly health conscious clientele.
"I think people should have the right to make their own choices, not have them legislated," says Nina Wilson, owner of Alexandria-based Dandy Restaurant Cruise Ships.
"That's why I try to provide a variety of choices in my dining room.
We're proud of the fact that we've always been doing this."
Wilson's passion for health-conscious cuisine is apparent in her menu.
"I'm extremely health conscious and feel that proper nutrition is the most important factor in remaining healthy," she says.
And while those dining aboard her two dinner cruise ships, the Dandy and Nina's Dandy, have a diverse menu to choose from, fried foods are nowhere to be found.
Her chefs use only non-hydrogenated oils and never use MSG.
They sauté foods in olive oil, and use only butter, which is not a trans fat, in preparing her desserts.
Salmon is poached, cod is baked and shrimp is cooked in the oven.
Vegetarian and vegan meals are also available for Wilson's guests.
The link between trans fats, also called hydrogenated fats, and heart disease recently gained a higher profile as more and more jurisdictions considered banning them, or at least requiring restaurants to disclose their use.
Trans fats are man made, and are created when hydrogen gas reacts with oil, creating a harder, thicker fatty material more prone to clog arteries.
Trans fats were originally added to foods to extend their shelf life.
In addition to the healthy menus available on Wilson's ships, her dining rooms have been smoke-free for more than 15 years.
However, smoking is allowed outdoors on the 3,700-square-foot upper deck aboard Nina's Dandy.
Dandy Restaurant Cruise Ships pioneered healthy dining on the Potomac and has more than twenty-six years of successful operating experience.
Both vessels operate year round, rain or shine, and are available for Sunday brunches, Saturday or weekday lunches, mid-day, dinner-dance and midnight dance cruises.
They are ideal settings for a romantic dinner for two, as well as for family celebrations, corporate or political events.