Eat First. Dance Later. It's the Natural Order.

September 13, 2015

Boston Ballet dancer Paul Craig is all about fueling up on meat and potatoes in Jamaica Plain.

Ellen Bhang
Eat First. Dance Later. It's the Natural Order. | WGBH | Craving Boston

When you dance eight hours a day, six days a week, you deserve to tuck into something delicious. For one Boston Ballet dancer, a favorite meal is down-home and all-American.

Paul Craig, 27, arrived in the Bay State in 2006 to attend the Boston Ballet’s summer program. He was promoted to the corps de ballet two years later, and is now second soloist. “It’s a stepping stone on the way to hopefully becoming a principal dancer,” he says of his status in the company.

Growing up in Manistee, northern Michigan, Craig hunted for deer and went ice fishing with his father. (Of course, when Nutcracker season rolled around, being out in the woods took a backseat to performing.) His Midwestern upbringing shapes what he craves. “I’m a big fan of meat,” he says, as well as “potatoes in any form.”

Those who assume that dancers follow a strict dietary regime would be surprised to learn that Craig fuels up with meat-and-potatoes fare. “Training as a male ballet dancer is different than training as a female,” Craig explains. “We have to partner with the ladies and do a lot of lifts. We have to eat more protein and carbs to keep our energy up.”

Getting home after a day of rehearsals, he takes a five minute walk to Grass Fed, the three year-old burger bar in Jamaica Plain. (Chef-owner Krista Kranyak also runs Ten Tables, with one location a few doors down, and another in Cambridge.) “I almost always get the Double Stacked,” he says, talking about two patties of pasture-raised beef with American cheese on a soft potato bun. Spicy fries, and a Session Pils from Ipswich-based Notch Brewing Co. round out his order.

Eat First. Dance Later. It's the Natural Order. | WGBH | Craving Boston

Friends sometimes poke fun at Craig's lack of additions to his burger. He keeps it simple -- just ketchup and mustard.  

“People describe my taste as boring,” he says, “but I like to think of it as being a purist.”

  • September 13, 2015