Food Network Chefs' Favorite Secret Ingredients

Food Network Magazine asked top chefs across the country for their go-to secret ingredients. Here's what the Food Network stars had to say — in their own words, and their own handwriting.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Guy Fieri, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

Anchovies don't get enough respect. I like to incorporate them in my sauce to add depth with a little bit of saltiness. They're great to work with in Italian dishes.

Pat and Gina Neely, Down Home with the Neelys

Bacon fat, baby—who doesn't love that smoky, hearty flavor? And you know how Gina and I love our pigs! We like to chop up some bacon, throw it in a skillet, render the fat and use that flavor to saute our veggies. Oink!

Ron Ben-Israel, Sweet Genius

Citric Acid naturally occurs in citrus fruits and is available in powder form. A tiny amount does wonders to heighten the flavor of any preparation containing fruit; it provides the sour element without any additional flavors and won't dilute the product as lemon juice would. It can be used in buttercream, mousses and jams.

Marc Murphy, Chopped

In all my restaurants I brew espresso not just to serve as a warm beverage but as a secret addition to chocolate mousse and also in marinades for meat. For chocolate mousse and other chocolate desserts, just a touch of espresso really complements the flavor while adding a layer of complexity. Not too much, as you don't want to actually taste coffee.

Geoffrey Zakarian, Iron Chef America

French salted butter is so creamy and amazing, and the salt adds such a luxurious richness to any sauce. It's my go-to in finishing sauces—mostly fish.

Giada De Laurentiis, Giada at Home

Mascarpone Cheese — I love to use it in both sweet and savory dishes. It can be used in place of sour cream or cream cheese!

Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef America

Mayonnaise, Japanese Seven-Spice Powder and Soy Sauce

Sunny Anderson, Cooking for Real

Pickled Jalapenos — This jar of love stays in my fridge 24/7 to add zip, heat and sweet to so much! I add 'em to my mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, salad dressings and more. Plus, people always ask me, "What is it I'm tasting??" Yaaaaay!!

Bobby Flay, Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction

Pomegranate Molasses — I love to use it to balance out salad dressings.

Alton Brown, Good Eats with Alton Brown

Sumac — Add depth to anything starchy: beans, potatoes, rice, etc.

Alex Guarnaschelli, Alex's Day Off

Worcestershire Sauce — I use a splash of this in everything from scrambled eggs to clam chowder. It just I use a splash of this in everything from scrambled eggs to clam chowder. It just seems to fill the gap in flavor that is so often missing. To me, it is a "secret weapon" because it can add a "cooked in" saltiness even if it's added at the last minute.

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Chefs at Home