CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. – Carlo Filippone grew up in an Italian household in Cliffside Park, working at his father’s pizzeria.
“You can imagine what I was eating all the time … pizza, lasagna, baked ziti,” recalled Filippone, who has had long careers in both bodybuilding and cooking.
At 21, he said, he made a “conscious effort” to learn about proper eating and eating for bodybuilding – frequenting libraries and bookstores. What he learned “didn’t match” with the way he grew up.
So he started making healthy meals of chicken and tuna for himself, and continued in the restaurant world.
Then in 1996, he opened his own restaurant called Angelo’s in Fairview. “The fact that I was running the restaurant and also doing well in the bodybuilding world, gave people something to talk about,” he said.
He was interviewed for Muscle Mag International, and offered opportunities to write for the magazine as well as Muscle Fitness, Flex Magazine and Muscle Development, he said. And in 2002, he added a health and wellness menu to his restaurant. “There was a demand for it,” he said.
He sold the restaurant, but didn’t give up on cooking. Filippone started preparing food out of the cafeteria at the former Work Out World in Fairview.
“We would go into the space in the morning, prepare a bunch of meals, put them out in a refrigerator, and gym patrons would come in and pick up what they wanted,” he recalled.
The concept became so popular that “there were men in suits and ties that were coming in for lunch, because they knew where to get a healthy meal,” he said.
Filippone no longer cooks at the gym, but he has turned the concept into a highly-successful meal prep business called Elite Lifestyle Cuisine. The meals are prepared at his Fairview facility and shipped to customers throughout the country.
Customers range from NFL players, actors and actresses, to regular people who are busy taking care of their children or focusing on their careers, he said.
He offers more than 40 menu items ranging from chicken and vegetable lasagna to turkey meatballs.
The best part of it all?
“Honestly, changing people’s lives,” he said. “I am here because I enjoy teaching people and helping people.”
His mother even lost 40 pounds by following some of his tips, such as baking chicken cutlets rather than frying, and using lean turkey or lean ground beef, he said.
Filippone runs a café from the Fairview facility – where people can pick up meals -- and has plans to expand the café business in the next couple of years to areas including Ridgewood, Morristown and Hoboken.
For more information on Elite Lifestyle Cuisine, CLICK HERE.
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