Be prepared if you ask personal trainer and noted chef Kevin DeMarco for a little background.
At only 47, this fast-talking Queens native has had an impressive and long career in both the culinary and fitness fields. He was working side-by-side with his mother and grandmother to make cookies before he could reach the kitchen counter, and by seven, they had left the daunting task of filling tins with Christmas cookies entirely to him. At 14 he was learning more sophisticated baking skills at a neighborhood Greek/Italian bakery.
After an accelerated course at New York Restaurant School, DeMarco worked at the Union Square Restaurant in Manhattan where he says, “Every day is like a Saturday night.” His experiences there led to positions in restaurants on Long Island, private catering in California, and eventually to DeMarco’s Cafe and Coffee Lounge in Little River.
DeMarco’s growing interest in physical fitness, coupled with his love of cooking and baking, have manifested themselves into a fortuitous career of personal trainer with a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. A move to Wilmington to set up a training studio evolved into DeMarco Studio, Fitness with Flavor on Castle Street, where he encourages his clients, many of whom have injuries or disabilities, to embrace a nutritious diet as well as a commitment to physical activity.
DeMarco, an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, whose clients range from 12-81 years of age, explains, “I want my clients to be healthy and continue to be active as they get older. A 60 percent food and 40 percent physical fitness plan means training smarter, not harder. We need to be accountable in order to be successful. If time is short for preparing meals during the work week, plan and prep on the weekends. You have to sacrifice a little now to have a longer and healthier life.”
Kevin DeMarco, who sees about ten clients a day, trains about three times a week himself, maintaining a lean and fit 155 pounds. He knows his clients “get it” when, “They realize it’s a balance and not a race. They are grateful for their renewed energy and accountability.” Growing up in College Point, DeMarco’s favorite chefs were the Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith) and Jacques Pepin whose homespun approach to cooking came from his mother’s example. According to DeMarco, that simpler approach to dining, coupled with a more educated and critical public, will eventually mean the demise of fine dining with its mystique and exorbitant bills.
When asked what his personal favorite cuisines are, DeMarco is quick to list Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. He notes that as the cook at home it’s easy to prepare vegetarian dishes for his wife Susan that he and their two-year-old daughter Gabby enjoy as well. A family man with a hectic work schedule, DeMarco knows first-hand how difficult it can be to put a nutritious, tasty and healthy meal on the table at the end of the day.
He thinks meal delivery services have a place in today’s world and can offer portion control and excellent menus for time-deprived cooks. A tip from his “quick, healthy dinners” classes that he offers to parents and students is to buy rotisserie chickens from a local market to prepare a number of meals, using different spices, that can be the basis for weeknight dinners.
When pressed for his philosophy, Kevin DeMarco is quick to say, “My logo is a medicine ball and an apple. Balance in life is critical. It’s all about balance, being happy, and family and friends.”