These Are 11 Chefs' Favorite Meals Of All Time

It's no secret that award-winning chefs make some one-of-a-kind eats. Between the edible helium balloon served at Alinea Restaurant to the fermented lamb meat on the KOKS Restaurant menu, these culinary professionals seem to do the impossible when they are in the kitchen (via Foodism Toronto). 

The sheer uniqueness of these foods might even leave some people wondering if professional chefs eat their creations on a regular basis. Interestingly, however, this doesn't always seem to be the case. Chef Gordon Ramsay, for example, is known for his perfectionistic approach to food preparation — yet he isn't afraid to admit that he has a penchant for fast food. In an interview with Taste of Home, Ramsay revealed, "Every chef in the country loves indulging in fast food. So, take me to the drive-thru at In-N-Out burger and you'll see me in the back seat with tinted windows with a Double Double [cheeseburger]."

Ramsay's confession goes to show that not all famous chefs have to eat gourmet meals three times a day to feel satisfied. On the contrary, plenty of culinary geniuses enjoy the simpler side of life. These chefs' favorite meals demonstrate that the foods that make us happy aren't always the most expensive ones.

1. Luc Jean

French Canadian chef, Luc Jean, knows that he is something of a gourmand. The celebrity chef, who appears in ICI Manitoba's cooking show "La main à la pâté," has traveled all across Canada to create and eat delicious foods. Indeed, as he confessed in an interview with Pack Your Bags, "I am a glutton at heart." Given that Jean has had the chance to try so many good eats, it would be easy to assume that the chef's favorite meal would be something hard to come by. Au contraire. Jean says that the food that changed his life was a pain au chocolat.

For Jean, this sweet was so moving that it's actually what inspired him to pursue a career in the culinary arts. In his conversation with Pack Your Bags, Jean described the first time he ever tried this mouthwatering treat: "I tried it and it was the best thing I had ever had in my life. The baker saw my face and he asked me: 'Do you like that?' I told him I loved it and he said to me: 'You know, you should become a baker.'" Apparently, the young Jean took the baker's advice to heart and started his culinary studies as a bakery apprentice.

To enjoy a similarly mind-blowing pastry, you might consider trying the best pain au chocolat in New York City

2. Ryan Rondeno

Chef Ryan Rondeno hails from Louisiana and loves nothing better than whipping up some of the region's most traditional foods. And, according to an interview with Splash Magazines, at the top of his list is gumbo — a stew that combines culinary styles from African, Native American, and European cultures (via Encyclopedia Britannica). 

In fact, Rondeno loves this meal so much that his favorite time of the year is gumbo-making season. As he put it, "My favorite season is fall. I love the produce such as apples, pears, butternut squash, root vegetables, and even pomegranate. It's also great because I can begin to incorporate hearty dishes for my clients. My go-to dish is always a good bowl of gumbo." And, apparently, Rondeno doesn't just make any type of gumbo. "I tend to lean toward duck and andouille gumbo," he said.

To enjoy something similar to this chef's favorite meal, try using this chicken and sausage gumbo recipe as a base. Then, feel free to dress up your creation by making a couple of ingredient substitutions. If you're hoping to make a gumbo variation that's similar to Rondeno's, simply replace the shredded chicken with the same proportions of shredded duck. You can also be sure to use andouille sausage instead of basic grocery store fare. The final product might just leave you with the taste of New Orleans.

3. Miguel Baez

It might be easy to assume that every chef has a favorite meal, but that certainly isn't true for Chef de Cuisine Miguel Baez of the Bistro du Marché. In an interview with the restaurant's blog, Baez revealed that he couldn't possibly choose just one favorite. "Everything I eat is good food. I like everything. I just like food," he explained. 

Nonetheless, there is one special treat that Baez says he could eat forever: "I would say my favorite — I don't like sweets much — I'm not a sweet guy, I don't like that sweet flavor, but the only thing I would eat non-stop would be this dessert. You take the milk and you curdle it with orange juice and just a bit of sugar, and that's to me, that's heaven."

To enjoy something up Miguel Baez's alley, you can heat up some milk on the stove and squeeze in a bit of orange juice. Then, add sugar to taste. If that's not your style, you might prefer to check out some more traditional citrus recipes. For a taste of tart, creamy goodness, whip up a batch of these Meyer lemon lavender bars. Or, if you would prefer to sip your citrus, try making this spicy version of a grapefruit sour.

4. Mak Kwai Pui

In 2020, Chef Mak Kwai Pui earned a Michelin star for his work at Tim Ho Wan Restaurant in Hong Kong. However, this level of success doesn't mean that the chef doesn't love something both delicious and simple. In a conversation with the Michelin Guide, the chef said that his favorite meal is a "Hong Kong-style steamed pork patty in a lunchbox." 

The reason for his choice is the familial significance that this treat carries. "Pork patty was something my mother used to cook for me," Pui revealed. Interestingly, this food has become something of a family tradition that the award-winning chef has already started passing on to the next generation. As he told the Michelin Guide, "When I became a father to two sons, I often included pork patty in their school lunch boxes too."

To enjoy some pork patties at home, you can try to follow the recipe for this pork on pork burger. Alternatively, you can try to follow Pui's advice and make your patties by blending fattier cuts of meat with leaner ones. "I like to use fattier meat and its ratio to that of lean meat is about 6:4," the Michelin-star winner explained. But, that's not the only cooking tip that Pui has up his sleeve: "In addition to that, I have another delicious trick: after the pork patty is steamed, I add a spoonful of my homemade ginger onion oil — that's also my secret recipe!"

5. Eric Räty

Mak Kwai Pui is not the only Michelin-star chef who enjoys simpler flavors. Chef Eric Räty of Hong Kong's two-star establishment, Arbor, also has a penchant for home cooking — more specifically, his wife's cooking. As Räty told the Michelin Guide, "My wife's Korean ginseng chicken soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. When I finally have time to sit down and enjoy a hot meal at 1 a.m. after a long day at work, it really perks me up and invigorates me."

According to his interview, Räty chose ginseng chicken soup as one of his favorite meals, partially because of the broth's consistency. "What I particularly like about it is its texture, which is naturally thickened by adding glutinous rice," he explained. "The texture and flavors are well-balanced from fusing smooth whole chicken, earthy chestnuts, sweet red dates, and bitter ginseng — to name a few."

If you would like to try these homey flavors, you could make this stuffed Korean chicken recipe. Like the chef's favorite meal, this recipe includes a diverse collection of ingredients, including ginseng, chestnuts, ginger, dates, and a whole chicken. However, this variation stuffs the bird with quinoa grains. To get as close as possible to Chef Räty's preferred dinner, you can try switching out the quinoa for some nice, thick glutinous rice. 

6. René Redzepi

Part of being a good chef is recognizing the talents of another. For Chef René Redzepi of Copenhagen's Noma, this means applauding his wife. The Danish chef told Epicurious that his favorite meal of all time consisted mainly of potato skins. Redzepi elaborated, "The best meal is probably the one that my wife cooked for me four years ago. ... One thing that was a masterpiece and that I thought about putting on the menu was potato skins from a good variety in Denmark that has thick skin."

While potato skins might seem like a relatively simple dish to make, Redzepi was impressed by the skill his wife exhibited in their preparation. "She cooked them until they were crunchy and yet there was also a slight chew," he said. In terms of garnish, Redzepi says his wife steered clear of the traditional American bacon and cheddar toppings and instead opted for something more nautical: "She served them with fresh vendace fish roe — I love that roe — and that was it."

To prepare something similar to the Danish chef's most memorable dinner, you can start out with this Idaho potato skins recipe. However, instead of stuffing your skins with cheese and pork, just add an extra dollop of butter to each one and pop them into the oven. Afterward, dress them up with fish roe or caviar. Serve your final creation with a side of sour cream to soften the saltiness of the fish eggs. 

7. Roland Durand

The world is a dynamic place, and for Chef Roland Durand, this means having more than one favorite food. In a conversation with So Chic, the French culinary professional explained that his favorite meal to cook depends on what ingredients are available. Therefore, his preference changes with the seasons. As Durand told the outlet when asked about his favorite foods to prepare, "To each season, a different French seasonal produce!"

In practice, this means that Durand enjoys making very different meals, depending on the time of year. As the award-winning chef told So Chic, "In spring, it's asparagus with vinaigrette dressing. In the summer, I enjoy making Caesar salad. In autumn, I love pan-cooking wild mushrooms. And in winter, my favorite is truffle omelet."

Home cooks looking to replicate Chef Durand's favorite meals should start off by considering which ingredients are currently in-season. Since the chef's preferences are based on the freshness of the available produce, you'll want to prepare these eats according to his unique calendar. During the summer, this means trying out a refreshing Caesar salad recipe. To pull together the best salad possible, you should try to buy your lettuce at either a farmers' market or a fresh produce supermarket. That way, your salad can benefit from the richest and crispest flavors. 

8. Andy Murray

Not all chefs have simple tastes. Chef Andy Murray told Mashed that he is a big fan of caviar — although, he only prefers a certain kind. When asked about his favorite food memory, the chef responded, "It was the first time I ate caviar — actually, both times: ... [It was] the first time I had bad caviar and the first time I had great caviar." 

As the chef revealed in his interview, he sampled bad caviar at the Pump Room in Chicago and found the fish eggs to be "awful." However, later in life, he apparently tried some more high-brow stuff — which was even enjoyed by royalty. "When I was working at Mortimer's, that was a real [high] society crowd. It was Jackie Onassis, and it was Brooke Aster, it was the King of Spain, it was Princess Margaret," Murray said. One day, he apparently tried the caviar that was usually served to this moneyed crew, and was so moved that he kept saying, "Oh my God, this is great!"

If you are interested in trying out caviar, remember that the most expensive ingredients are often served simply. Remove the delicious fish eggs from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, lather a piece of toast with some high-quality butter and sprinkle your caviar on top. Serve Murray's favorite meal on a glass or porcelain plate, as a metallic one can interfere with caviar's flavor (per Food & Wine).

9. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez might not be most people's idea of a professional chef. However, the singer-turned-cooking-show-host has proven that she knows her way around the kitchen. In her HBO Max show, "Selena + Chef" (via YouTube) Gomez has tried her hand at treats ranging from chicken meatballs to gnocchi. She even opened up about her favorite meal to cook while on the Television Critics Association panel for her show. As Cheat Sheet reports, Gomez told the audience that she makes miso soup, which has been "impressive to [her] friends."

Meanwhile, when it comes to what Gomez herself likes to eat, the singer says that she is more of a home-cooking girl. "My comfort food would be my nana's chicken and dumplings. I'm from the South so it's like this yummy, just biscuits, like, with all this chicken and it was — I would say that's my favorite," she divulged (via Cheat Sheet).

To take a page out of Selena Gomez's book, you can try this savory miso soup recipe. If you're really interested in impressing your friends and family, you can even add some fancy toppings. This recipe calls for half a pound of shrimp, but you can switch that out with salmon, crab, or some peeled langoustines. 

10. Todd English

When it comes to choosing a favorite flavor, celebrity chef Todd English prefers reliability over flare. In contrast to chefs who love complex meals involving many different ingredients, English likes to keep things simple. When asked about his favorite meal to prepare at home, English told Just Luxe: "My simple homemade tomato sauce!" According to the chef, the reason for his choice is that tomato sauce is a recipe he can count on. "I've made it thousands of times and it always does the trick," he explained.

Home cooks looking to whip up a meal à la Todd English can try making this basic stewed tomatoes recipe. This delightful sauce takes only 15 minutes to make and tastes absolutely fabulous when mixed with noodles or poured over the top of some classic lasagna. If stewed tomatoes are too simple for your tastes, you can upgrade your tomato sauce by adding herbs, parmesan cheese, or even a dash of fish sauce to your pan. You can even throw in some ground meat to make a flavorful batch of pasta with bolognese sauce.

11. Éric Ripert

Officially, love doesn't have a taste, but perhaps this unusual "secret ingredient" can come in any flavor. French chef and Michelin star winner Éric Ripert swears that he can taste whether or not a meal was prepared with love — and his favorite meals are those that taste of tender loving care. As Ripert explained in an interview with The World, "If you have in your life something cooked by someone in your family who put love in the food — you feel something, something." 

For Ripert, eating is a very emotional process. According to his perspective, the love that the chef dedicates to the meal is evident in the final result. "Something that has been cooked by someone who loves to cook and loves to put good energy in that food to make you happy. ... It explains why you can feel the love in the food." Because of this experience, Ripert most admires "spiritual" chefs, like South Korean monks, who he says, "put love and compassion in the process."

If cooking with love sounds nebulous, try following the advice of Chef Nicola. The owner of Nicola's Pasta Fresca says that adding love as your secret ingredient is as simple as choosing your fresh produce with care. As the chef told Sickles Market, "[My grandmother] would tell me the secret ingredient to the best-tasting food is the love that you put into ... the quality of hand-picked ingredients."