Chefs’ tasty concoctions come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. After all, it’s their jobs to whip up something creative and captivating.
But what happens when the culinary geniuses themselves get a craving? Sometimes, they give pregnant women’s cravings (ahem, pickles and ice cream) a run for their money. Next time your tastebuds are eager for an off-the-wall snack, try one of these non-traditional, chef-approved tasty treats.
1. Deep Fried Frozen White Castle Burgers Dipped in Tomato Soup
“The burger is crispy on the outside and perfectly steamed inside... and who doesn’t love tomato soup? I started making it when I didn’t want Mexican [food]. I would go to 7-Eleven and wished I was back in Chicago. Everything is great fried—duh!—and so are White Castle burgers. Most people in Florida never had White Castle growing up, so I like to share them with my staff. Anyone that tries them loves them.” – Adam Dombrowski, Corporate Chef at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, South Florida
2. Sweet Potato Fries Dipped in Sour Cream and Maple Syrup
“As a teen, my friends and I frequented a lot of diners. Once at Union Plaza Diner in Union, NJ, I ordered sweet potato fries, and they were served with sour cream and maple syrup. It was a wonderful combination of sweet and salty and sour.” – Martyna Krowicka, Chef at Restaurant Latour in Hamburg, NJ
3. Giardiniera on Pizza, aka Fire Pie
“One of my favorite things ever is a Home Run Inn pepperoni thin crust pizza with homemade giardiniera. It came to life when one drunken night I was eating an Italian Beef sandwich over a pepperoni pizza, allowing all the drippings of the Italian Beef to fall onto my pepperoni pie. I named it ‘Fire Pie,' and have since then gotten all my close friends and family hooked on it. It even made its way onto the menu of the new concept we are opening come 2018.” – Danny Grant, Executive Chef at Maple & Ash in Chicago
4. Pickle, American Cheese, and RedHot on Martin’s Potato Roll
“After a long night in the kitchen, I don’t want to make a meal at home, and I don’t typically like leftovers. In replace of a roast beef sandwich, I’ve combined pickles, American cheese— cheddar works, too!—and RedHot on Martin’s potato rolls. It’s fast and tastes good to me. I’ve been making this for years. I grew up on bread and butter sandwiches, so this isn’t weird to me.” – Brian Kevorkian, Executive Chef at Grill 23 & Bar in Boston
5. Cream Cheese and Sriracha Between Nilla Wafers or Grape Jelly on Sausage Pizza
“First, I love to take a smear of cream cheese and a squirt of Sriracha and sandwich it all between two Nilla wafers—it’s kind of like a lowbrow macaron. Second, grape jelly—preferably squeezable—is delicious on a slice of cold sausage pizza. I was in rare form when I discovered this one maybe 12 years ago, but it's good." – Patrick Connolly, Chef & Owner of Rider in Brooklyn, NY
6. Cookie Butter, Grape Jam, and Shio Koji Sandwich
“This is seriously the best sandwich I've ever had. Mix the shio koji paste [a Japanese condiment made from fermented rice] with the cookie butter and make a sandwich on white bread. Then, toast it in a lot of butter. It’s like a salty, buttery, and sweet cookie sandwich. I used to work at a Japanese restaurant, and the owner had a sweet tooth, so we always had cookie butter around. I was messing around with savory dessert ingredients at the time and found shio koji. I ended up putting it on a sandwich—and boom—it was great.” – Jacob Verstegen, Executive Chef at LH Rooftop at LondonHouse Chicago in Chicago
7. Popeyes Chicken Skin 'Tacos'
"I once received a box of Popeyes with a candle stuck in it, in lieu of a birthday cake—it's my guilty pleasure. I like the red beans so much, I will offer this pro move: Peel the skin off the thigh, and use that as the taco shell, and fill it with the red beans and rice. It’s crispy on the outside and fatty from the skin, with the saltiness from the red beans and rice. It’s good eating. This is my go-to for the few times a year I just want to say ‘f**k it' to my usual routine of salads and sushi.’ – Chris Jaeckle, Executive Chef at Uma Temakeria in New York City
8. Sour Patch Kids, Pizza Flavored Combos, and Coke
“I have this weird obsession with Sour Patch Kids, pizza flavored Combos, and Coke. It's sweet, salty, savory, chewy, crispy. It's like a truck stop special that I get on any road trip longer than an hour. I typically don't eat junk food—actually I never do—but this always hits that spot. It's how I sustain the perpetual teenager inside of me that really can't grow up, in order to cook reasonably healthy food for adults.” – Tyler Kinnett, Executive Chef at Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge, MA
9. Vegemite, Caramel, and Ice Cream
"Growing up in Australia, I was raised on Vegemite. To this day, I love it smeared on good sourdough toast with plenty of butter. The salty, umami flavor is incredibly unique and has the same intensity as black garlic, replacing the sweetness of the garlic equally with saltiness. I discovered this flavor combination when asked to do an Australian dessert course at the Breeders' Cup a few years back and decided to test out a play on salted caramel ice cream, using the salt and umami of Vegemite in the caramel to balance out the sweetness of the sugar. It's now one of my favorite flavors and always reminds me of home!" – Janine Booth, Chef & Owner of Root & Bone in New York City, former Top Chef cheftestant
10. Caviar and Potato Chips
“I didn't have an affinity for caviar growing up, but the first time I tried it at a caviar tasting, I realized the little morsels were salty and delectable. I immediately thought, ‘these would be great with a [Lay's potato chip].’ Needless to say, I took the rest home and chowed down. I don't need all of the accouterments and blinis—inhaling chips and caviar is fine with me. I promise, I'm not as ‘bougie’ as I may sound.” – Benjamin Goldman, Executive Chef at Komodo in Miami Beach, FL
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