Chefs’ Picks: Secret Indulgences

Even chefs have special comfort foods that are kind of unhealthy and possibly somewhat embarrassing for them to admit they eat. Find out which secret indulgences some chefs can’t resist.
Related To:

Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Everyone has one: a beloved food item that is soothing and uplifting, but is also kind of unhealthy and possibly somewhat embarrassing to admit they eat. It’s OK if you covertly love that chain restaurant’s queso dip, or gas station hot dogs or snack cakes from the convenience store. Even chefs have special comfort dishes. Here, four divulge their favorite secret indulgences.

Intoxicating Ice Cream

Like many dessert lovers, when Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel seeks solace, he turns to a pint of ice cream. Instead of buying a national brand, though, he swings by a local shop to score his favorite flavor. “The Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream from Graeter’s Ice Cream can at times be my major vice, you know? Sometimes I eat a whole pint,” says de Cavel, who is owner and chef of the newly opened Restaurant L, Jean-Robert’s Table, Le Bar a Boeuf and French Crust Café in Cincinnati. “The fresh fruit flavor with the slightly salty chocolate chip is so perfect together. I make sure to stock my fridge at home with pints for a rainy day — or just any day, for that matter!”

Craveworthy Peanut Butter Cups

When he needs to perk himself up, Bobby Benjamin (chef-owner at Butchertown Grocery in Louisville, Ky.) heads down the block to Cellar Door Chocolates to re-energize with the restorative powers of peanut butter cups. His obsession with peanut butter cups started back in his childhood and has only grown with time. “Now, with Cellar Door Chocolates’ new and improved peanut butter cups ... I could seriously eat 50 at once,” Benjamin notes.

©Food Network 2015

Food Network 2015

Irresistible Instant Ramen

Shuji Furukawa, executive chef at Autre Kyo Ya in New York City, knows it’s unhealthy, but he admits instant ramen is his main guilty pleasure. The classically trained chef grew up in Japan’s Kyushu region, where the famous tonkatsu (pork broth) ramen was developed. Growing up, he ate instant noodles for lunch and even as an after-dinner snack. “Now I try to stay away from eating ramen so often in general, but I can't help myself,” Furukawa says. “Also, when I've had a couple of drinks, I could eat two bowls of ramen in a row with no problem.”

(Cultivate a ramen obsession of your own with Food Network’s fresh spins on the instant noodle dish.)

Furukawa also has a bit of a fixation on a classic candy: gummy bears. “It's a good pick-me-up kind of snack throughout the whole day,” he explains.

Can’t-Miss Comfort Foods

When chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson (owner of Double Knot in Philadelphia) wants some comfort, he doesn’t go lowbrow, nor does he have a specific dish. Schulson prefers to order several things at one specific restaurant, Chef Vola’s in Atlantic City. “It’s in a small house, in a basement,” says Schulson. “I get the linguine and clams in white sauce, veal Parm on the bone … tossed salad with tomatoes and roasted peppers, and butterscotch ricotta cheesecake.”

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream photo courtesy of Graeter's Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Cups photo courtesy of Cellar Door Chocolates

Keep Reading

Next Up

Chefs’ Picks: Top Holiday Bottles

If you want to buy a few celebratory holiday wines, dazzle your guests with these chefs’ go-to bottles to serve, gift and brighten spirits.

Chefs’ Picks: Turkey

Though bird is the word of the season, many a Thanksgiving turkey underwhelms. Find out chefs’ favorite preparations for T-Day poultry to ensure your bird is far from bland.

3 of a Kind: Boozy Ice Cream

All across the country, ice cream parlors are creating adults-only flavors that are sure to keep spirits in summer mode well into the snowy season.

3 of a Kind: Serious Coffee Milkshakes

When you’re looking for a buzz, here are three great places to find serious, espresso-spiked milkshakes.

3 of a Kind: Cascara Drinks

With the flavor of an herbal tea and a java-like jolt of caffeine, cascara is a refreshing, energizing and waste-free alternative to coffee. Here are three places using it in cool ways.

Fans Show Us Their Guilty Food Pleasures: All About Pumpkin

Check out photos of Food Network fans' most-over-the-top pumpkin treats.

Chefs’ Picks: Holiday Gifts

Now that holiday shopping is in full swing, we asked chefs across the country to tell us what foodcentric gifts they love to give and get.

Chefs' Picks: Lobster Rolls

Chefs choose their favorite summer lobster rolls, from Maine to California.

Chefs' Picks: Holiday Traditions

Whether they’re behind the stove or for once letting someone else tie on an apron, these chefs (and their families) know how to put the “eatings” in "season’s greetings."

Chefs’ Picks: Hot Dogs

In honor of Fourth of July and, well, summer, we’ve asked chefs from across the country about their favorite hot dogs. Find out which franks these pros prefer!