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The New Face Of Healthy Cooking: Weight WatchersA® And ABC's "The Chew" Crown Winner In "The Chew Search For The Weight Watchers Chef"

NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- After six weeks of culinary competition, Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) teamed up with ABC's food and lifestyle show "The Chew" today announce the winner of "The Chew Search for the Weight Watchers Chef": Ryan Hutmacher, a Chicago-based chef and passionate healthy lifestyle expert . Now, Hutmacher receives a $75,000, one-year consulting contract with Weight Watchers and the opportunity to serve as the first-ever Weight Watchers Chef.

Chef Ryan's culinary journey began with a personal health transformation almost 10 years ago. After years of struggling with his own weight, Ryan transformed his eating habits, which not only helped him to lose weight, but also set him on the path of a new culinary career. Ryan graduated from culinary school, trained in France, and developed a new appreciation for the profound effects healthy food can have on both mind and body. He soon co-founded Centered Chef, a Chicago culinary studio where he and his team focus on educating, entertaining and inspiring through healthy cooking.

"We were impressed by Ryan's knowledge and skill as a chef, as well as his passion and enthusiasm for how great tasting food can support a healthy lifestyle," said Lesya Lysyj, President – North America, Weight Watchers. "We believe people will connect with his personal weight loss journey and will be inspired by his creative, fresh and modern approach to cooking."

"Serving as the Weight Watchers Chef is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Chef Ryan Hutmacher.  "I know what it's like to struggle with weight and I share the Weight Watchers philosophy that you can enjoy all of the delicious foods you love in moderation. I hope to inspire and educate people to develop new habits around food as they work towards their weight loss goals."

The competition phase of "The Chew Search for the Weight Watchers Chef" kicked off on January 15 with six experienced culinary professionals vying for the role. During weekly segments on the "The Chew," airing weekdays (1:00 - 2:00 P.M. ET) on the ABC Television Network, the contestants showcased their skills in developing and preparing healthy, delicious dishes for the following challenges: Breakfast, Family Meal, Party Food, Comfort Food, Valentine's Day Dessert, and Dinner Party.

In each of the first three weeks of the competition, two chefs were challenged to prepare dishes using the good-for-you foods from Simple Start, the new two-week starter plan from Weight Watchers designed to provide a helpful on-ramp to weight loss success. The three remaining contestants then battled it out creating recipes within a specific Weight Watchers PointsPlus® value range.

Weight Watchers Online ambassador, actress, and busy mom Ana Gasteyer joined "The Chew" co-hosts and Weight Watchers Leader Melanie Kann at the judge's table for the February 5 Comfort Food Battle, which narrowed the field to two contestants.

Part one of the finals, which aired February 12, challenged the two finalists to a Valentine's Day dessert battle. Part two of the finals, which aired today, featured a dinner party challenge in which the finalists created a guest-worthy meal. Ryan edged out his competition with his winning dish – Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Minted Yogurt Sauce and Citrus Tabbouleh.

To learn more about Chef Ryan, get all the recipes from the competition, and see photos and video clips from "The Chew" competition, visit  TheChew.com.

About Weight Watchers International, Inc.   Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds over 40,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based provider of these products in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.

About "The Chew"  Celebrating and exploring life through food, "The Chew" is an innovative and groundbreaking daytime series co-hosted by a dynamic group of engaging, fun, relatable experts in food, lifestyle, and entertaining. Produced by Gordon Elliott's Chew Productions for the ABC Television Network, "The Chew" serves up everything food -- from cooking and home entertaining to food trends, restaurants, holidays and more -- all aimed at making life better, fuller and more fun. Featuring celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly and health and wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz, "The Chew" is a leap forward into a delicious new kind of lifestyle series.

SOURCE Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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