12/11/2014 10:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

9 Ingredients Chefs Need to Stop Using

Flickr/Steven Depolo: edited

By: Lee Breslouer

Eating out at restaurants these days might give you a serious case of menu-boredom: didn't you just see all these same items at the last place you ate? It's not just you. Chefs are sick of the déjà vu, too. Déjà vu, too.

To draw attention to the plight of overused ingredients and jaded diners, we asked some of our favorite chefs what they're tired of seeing.

More: Things You have To Explain To People Who've Never Worked In Kitchens


"It's not the ingredient itself: it's the lack of a deft hand which has a hold on the bottle, and doesn't know that a little goes a long way."
-- Chris Santos, executive chef, Beauty & Essex and Stanton Social (New York, NY)

"What started out as a condiment is now on every plate, from Sriracha mayo to Sriracha wings to Sriracha tuna salad to Sriracha potato chips. It's morphed into a ubiquitous flavoring, and it's on too many dishes."
-- Brian Zenner, executive chef, Oak (Dallas, TX)

"I love Sriracha, but I'm sick of it! It's way overused. People say it's good on everything, but it really has no place in desserts. I think it's easy to take something that's versatile and put it on anything, but does it taste good?"
-- Michael Armstrong, executive chef, Bodega Negra (New York, NY)

Faux caviar

"I think the faux 'caviar' trend has come and gone, but I still see it here and there. Little beads of Tabasco or balsamic do nothing for me. They usually have no flavor and just get in the way. If you want those flavors, just add the ingredient or make a sauce or reduction. If you want caviar, use caviar."
-- Hosea Rosenberg, chef/owner, Blackbelly Market (Boulder, CO)

Credit: Flickr/The Ewan

Tomatoes (out of season)

"Kitchens have got to stop putting tomatoes on salads when they're out of season. I can understand using a slice of beefsteak tomato on a burger set (we do it) during the colder months, but when you go to a restaurant in the middle of winter and they have a caprese salad, it's usually terrible. Ripe tomatoes in season are heavenly. Hard, mealy tomatoes in wintertime are disgusting."
-- Hosea Rosenberg, chef/owner, Blackbelly Market (Boulder, CO)

Brussels sprouts

"A side of Brussels sprouts is ubiquitous; it seems like it's always either done with bacon or with some kind of fish sauce vinaigrette. We can do better than that. It's cheating to serve Brussels with bacon because everything is good with bacon."
-- Paul C. Reilly, chef/proprietor, beast + bottle (Denver, CO)

Head over to for 5 more ingredients that chefs are just tired of seeing!

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