It's common knowledge that chefs work long hours and are busy preparing food for others. There's a ton of articles and TV shows telling us what chefs like to cook.
But are these meals that they "like" to prepare what they actually eat themselves?
At the end of a 12-16 hour day or a 70-80 hour work week, do they head into their kitchen at home and start making these meals they've told us about on TV and in magazines?
I am personally not a chef but am married to one. Obviously I can't speak for all chefs in the world as I haven't met them all. However, having been married to a chef for 18 years and having interacted with quite a few chefs and their wives/husbands and significant others, I think it's time to be truthful about this topic and put an end to this myth about how chefs eat at home.
When my chef/husband comes home after a 12-16 hour day, he's usually pretty hungry, thirsty and exhausted. He might have had something to eat before the dinner rush during the family meal at the restaurant, or he might have stopped at one of his favorite taco trucks on the way home. But if not, he's starving!
So what does he grab when he walks in the door?
It's probably not what you think.
No that picture is not a mistake. It's Top Ramen (or Ramen Noodle Soup depending on the brand you buy.)
Yes, my husband is an Executive Chef of a large fine dining restaurant and the #1 food he eats after working a crazy amount of hours in a professional kitchen is Top Ramen.
(And yes, I realize I have no life... I just took a picture of the Top Ramen in my pantry. It's late, the kids are asleep, my chef/husband is still at work. Why not?)
Now, I should be honest. It's not JUST Top Ramen. He throws whatever else he can find in the fridge into it as well and it's always topped with Sriracha. But still, it's Top Ramen.
Now I know what some of you are thinking.
"Maybe it's just your husband. Why in the world would a chef of a fine dining restaurant eat Top Ramen at the end of the day? I'm sure not all chefs do that."
You're right. Not all chefs do.
Some eat frozen pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese and Triscuits, Campbells soup, lunch meat and cheese, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, leftovers, ham sandwiches, black beans and tortillas smothered in Sriracha, graham crackers, chocolate milk, Vienna sausage and rice... the list could go on and on, but you get the picture.
When I asked my fellow chef wives and significant others, this is what they said. Each one of their spouses has their own "comfort" food, the food they go to when they are exhausted.
Now in all fairness, chefs do not eat like this all the time. When my chef/husband has a day off, we do eat well. Nothing fancy (usually), but he somehow makes whatever I had planned for dinner taste amazing. I look in the refrigerator and think we have nothing to eat. He looks in the refrigerator and creates dinner. The times he plans AND prepares the meal, it's perfect and I eat way too much. That just doesn't happen very often.
So just to set the record straight, most chefs, after a crazy long day in the kitchen are not going home and preparing these amazing meals for themselves. They are eating to survive after working hard to prepare great food for the rest of us.
So if you are a chef, or know someone who is, what do you eat after working a 12-16 hour day? Did your comfort food make the list above? We want to know! Feel free to add your favorite go-to food in the comments below.
Follow Jennifer Small on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emulsifiedfam