They might spend their nights on the line carefully finessing tweezers for the next plating, but when the last floor mat is rolled up and chefs call it a night, they prowl the motley contents of their fridge just like the rest of us. Whether it’s store-bought items they crave, or re-purposed leftovers from that night’s shift, chefs have an uncanny ability to whip up on-the-fly meals. Here we investigate the off-duty snacking habits of eights chefs from around the country.


Chris Shepherd

Chef/owner at Underbelly
ChrisS_PicklechipsFrench onion dip, confesses Chris Shepherd, is a guilty pleasure. “Wheat Thins are the best dippers, but pretty much any chip or vegetable will do,” he explains. Biting into a juicy Honeycrisp apple makes for a healthier contrast. “I sometimes can’t believe I’m spending four dollars for each one, but they’re just so delicious. I eat them on their own or topped with peanut butter,” he says. Famous Dave’s fiery and crunchy bread and butter-style signature Spicy Pickle Chips are another of his go-tos for wee-hour snacking. (Photo: Julie Soefer)


Fabio Trabocchi

Chef/owner at Fiola, Casa Luca, Fiola Mare
Fabio_ProPeaches (“for breakfast”) sit on his kitchen counter, but a bottle of Champagne is always found in Fabio Trabocchi’s fridge. He also stocks up on San Pellegrino, containers of Fiola-made gazpacho, and ‘nduja that his wife Maria uses to spike her lamb empanadas. If he’s not unwinding with a gin and tonic, Trabocchi likely has a glass of red wine in hand, accompanied by “prosciutto for a quick Italian fix” or “various cheeses for a midnight snack.” (Photo: Flickr/Navin Rajagopalan)


Zach Meloy

Chef at Better Half
zach_masadoughSometimes Zach Meloy’s food skews Mexican in the form of, say, a grilled tamal. At home, a ball of masa dough always sits in his fridge. “I have it ready so that I can break some off to make quick tortillas, gorditas, or sopes,” he says. “Pull apart a leftover rotisserie chicken with grilled jalapeños and mayonnaise, stuff it into said masa, and I’m ready to snack. What else could you need?” (Photo: Flickr/Javier Lastras)


Paul Osher

Chef at Porkchop & Co.
unnamedPaul Osher has mastered the art of making leftovers from the seasonal offerings at his Seattle order-at-the-counter restaurant Porkchop & Co. “Our refrigerator is a pretty sad affair. We don’t eat at home very often, so we mostly keep scraps from our restaurant around to make quick meals on a day off. Luckily they’re glorious scraps,” he says. “We try to keep a mix of things like chorizo, crispy chicken skins, pickles, and our house hot sauce around. We’re real ‘breadaphiles,’ too. Right now we’ve got lots of tomatoes sitting around waiting to be eaten on toast with some olive oil my parents just brought from Spain. And there are always half-drunk bottles of wine to wash everything down.(Photo: Flickr/Frederique Voison Demery)


Leah Cohen

Chef/owner at Pig & Khao
LeahC_CoolwhipLike most of her chef pals, Leah Cohen admits her fridge is pretty bare—save for staples including strawberries, cheese, olives, and maybe “cantaloupe from the farmer’s market I picked up this weekend on my way home from the Hamptons.” White wine is “as essential to me as water,” and so a bottle of it always makes a refrigerator cameo, as does the surprising bodega-bought container of low-fat whipped cream. Although Cohen says she couldn’t live without the eggs, the turkey bacon is her boyfriend’s. “I don’t even know why it’s in there,” she points out. “I eat the real thing.” (Photo: Justine Dungo)


Richard Blais

Chef at FLIP Burger Boutique, Juniper & Ivy
Blais_gochujaun“I’m basically the ‘fridge-cleaner’ in my house, and usually assemble snacks out of leftover ingredients from my wife’s more deliberate and delicious efforts,” says the Top Chef All Stars winner. “I like to microwave rice, add a raw egg, squirt some soy sauce into it, and add garlic powder, butter, and scallions.” An impromptu burrito filled with hummus, cheese, and a squirt of Gochujang is another of Blais’ specialties. “My smashed banana on burnt toast with melted butter and salt is also pretty legendary,” he adds. (Photo: Wikipedia/Peterjhpark)


Jonathan Wu

Chef at Fung Tu
Jonathan Yu_chipsJonathan Wu may have a way with rice noodles, but when he’s home he’s most likely dipping Xochitl blue corn chips into tomatillo salsa, “my favorite junk food for sure.” After cooking all night he often “rolls in” to local eateries like Lahore Deli, where a chickpea stew, rice, and samosa combo likely morphs into compelling next-day leftovers. When late-night cravings strike, Golden Krust Jamaican beef patties also come to the rescue. “They are freaking meat pies,” he says. “Of course I like them.” (Photo: Paul Wagtouicz​)


Zach Pollack

Chef/owner at Alimento
zachpollack_almondsAt his Italian bistro in Los Angeles, Zach Pollack belabors over the likes of lamb belly and whole wheat bigoli. But at home it’s classic Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds he often turns to when the munchies settle in. “I don’t care that they’re ‘flavored’ with smoke and not actually smoked,” he explains. “I find them simply irresistible.” (Photo courtesy: Dylan + Jeni​)


Justin Severino

Chef/owner at Cure
Justin_reesesJustin Severino is one healthy dude on the home front. “I have lots of fruit smoothies, granola bars (Kind is my favorite), and any kind of nut butter on toast with honey,” he says. While he doesn’t seek out junk food, Severino is known to splurge on Cool Ranch Doritos every now and then. He also keeps Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer. “I think this is a result of my mom’s strict parenting,” he explains. “We never had junk food in the house and I had to sneak away to drink soda as a kid.” (Photo: Adam Milliron​)