Being a chef means you have an indelible taste for what gourmet food is all about. You spend hours in the kitchen toiling and creating recipes to blow people away. And that is the exact opposite of everything that fast food stands for. Fast food is about feeding the masses and focusing on quantity, not quality. Fast food is about finding your food ready and waiting for you. You don’t wait for it. So it might come as a surprise when you know that chefs, including celebrity ones, actually frequent fast food chains. Not just that, they also have favorite outlets and favorite fast food items as well.
10. Kent Rathbun
Ken Rathbun is a famous name all over Texas. Not just because he’s a celebrity chef but also because he owns several restaurants there. He owns the upscale restaurant Abacus which was voted as the most popular dining outlet in Dallas in 2007. Rathbun also owns Jasper’s and the burger place Hickory. The chef also made his culinary skills known across the nation when he appeared on Iron Chef America. It was on that same show when he also made something else clear. That he was a badass. Rathbun picked an elk and carried it on his shoulder like it was nothing. It’s considered one of the finest moments of that show ever. So when a chef of his ilk decides to eat casual, what does he do? He goes to Taco Bell of course. But why Taco Bell in particular? Well, as it turns out, the Iron Chef champ enjoys food made to order. And Tacho Bell is famous for doing just that. You order it, you get it. Hard & Soft Taco Supreme is his favorite food. And he likes it with extra spicy sauce. When Rathbun is not in Taco Bell, you’ll find him in Popeye. He goes there for their Spicy Fried Chicken with dirty rice and a biscuit.
9. Justin Warner
Justin Warner is no ordinary celebrity chef. He’s also an author. He wrote The Laws of Cooking: And How to Break Them which gives us a glimpse of the man’s psyche. He also appeared on Food Network Star and won it. But what really distinguishes Warner is his online show on marvel.com. Apparently, the chef is a Marvel fan and he enjoys nothing more than creating meals inspired by the Marvel Universe. His show Eat the Universe is a hit among people with even the faintest interest in that particular universe. And that’s all fine and dandy. But where does Warner likes to dine when he’s not creating fictional meals for the superheroes? He likes to eat at Wendy’s. And when you ask him why Wendy’s, he sighs and waxes lyrical. As it happens, Warner loves the Frosty & Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger that Wendy’s is famous for. He admits that every time he and his girlfriend hit the road this is where they eat. He considers it quality fast food. We aren’t going to argue with Warner. This is a guy who’s rubbed shoulders with and fed the heroes who have saved our world many times over. So we’ll take him at his word and leave it at that.
8. Tyson Cole
Another Texan who comes from modest backgrounds and went on to capture the heart of the nation. Cole’s first experience in the kitchen was in front of the sink washing dishes. From such humble beginnings, Cole rose to fame and success with sheer talent and will. Waiting for his chance, he took advantage of the staff shortage in the Japanese kitchen where he was working and offered his services as a sushi chef. The rest, as they say, is history. Cole won the Best New Chef award from Food & Wine Magazine in 2005. He also appeared on Iron Chef America and won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest. So when a sushi cook likes to eat out where does he go? To Chipotle of course. When he’s there, Cole likes to order the Burrito Bowl. The reason is quite simple. The chef likes corn with any food he eats. The bowl is full of fresh ingredients and tastes very much different than all the Japanese dishes he prepares all day. So what’s in that bowl exactly? Well, he likes to mix chicken with tomato salsa, adds romaine and corn and eats it with brown rice. It’s just the spicy mix Cole likes to get his creative juices flowing.
7. Chris Shea
Chris Shea is another chef who clawed his way to the heights of the culinary world from humble beginnings. At the age of 12, he was delivering food for Frank’s Market in Washington Heights. If you think this would put him off working in the food industry, you don’t know much about Shea. The tenacious teen attended the Institute of Culinary Education and soon found himself neck deep in the New York culinary scene. He appeared on season 5 of Top Chef and dazzled the judges with his culinary prowess. In 2011, Shea accepted a position at David Burke Kitchen as executive chef and recently moved to The Wayfarer also as an executive chef. Every now and then the chef likes to leave the bustling kitchen behind him and head out to a fast food restaurant to relax. One might think chefs would prepare a gourmet dish for themselves when they want to chill. But not Shea. He finds peace and pleasure munching what Dunkin Donuts has to offer. His favorite orders are Cookie Dough Swirl Iced Coffee and a chocolate-frosted donut. It has become a habit for him. Before a long hard day at the kitchen, he digs in a sugary treat that keeps him going.
6. David Posey
Like many other chefs on this list, Posey started his love affair with the kitchen at a very young age. But Posey started at his mom’s kitchen when he was 10. Rather than tell him to leave her alone and go play outside, David’s mom encouraged him. He took his first kitchen job at high school and enjoyed the hectic demands of the stressing job. Some people get high on adrenalin and Posey was one of them. He felt the kitchen was his right place. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and later moved to Chicago where he worked under Grant Achatz. He learned to always push the boundaries in the kitchen and pay extra attention to detail. He was nominated for Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation two years in a row, in 2013 and 2014. His fast food place of choice is In-N-Out. His favorite order is a Double-Double Animal-Style with well-done fries and a half Coke. He likes the hamburger in Chicago and it reminds him a lot of the food he had growing up in California. He also likes the fries in the In-N-Out because they’re crisp. We like crisp fries too. Only if we knew how to make them.
5. Perry Hendrix
Perry stands out in this list. Not just because he’s an excellent chef, but because of the way he stumbled into the kitchen. He started just like any other person his age with a focus on something he likes. In his case it was wine. He got a degree from Miami University in Ohio in Botany and dedicated the new few years to making wine. From there the jump to cooking was a short leap. His studies gave him a passion for fresh ingredients though. In the kitchen, he loves to surround himself with fresh veggies. Nothing canned or processed on Perry’s kitchen top. Between North Carolina, Utah, and St. Louis, Perry made his culinary bones and developed his unique kitchen style. He’s another fan of Chipotle. His favorite food there is the port burrito. On the road he takes his family to Chipotle to indulge in the tasty food. But it’s not just about taste for Perry. He also supports their environmental and ethical practices. Recently Chipotle was in the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s good to see a respected chef supporting the food chain.
4. Guy Fieri
Fieri is a famous name and face across many TV networks. He’s a restauranteur, author, and show host. He also won an Emmy. He’s practically become the face of the Food Network. The guy exudes charm and charisma and his presence in any show makes it fun to watch. As a young man, he sold pretzels and washed dishes to make money to go to France. After his return he got a degree from the University of Nevada in hotel management. So his love for restaurants started from the top, the management level if you will. He had his own TV show in 2006 after winning The Next Food Network Star and hasn’t looked back since. He’s a passionate fan of In-N-Out. And he’s not the only one. Many of the celebrity chefs on this list like the chain. For Fieri, though, it’s all about growing up around the food chain. Many of his best memories from his early life happened in or around In-N-Out. And that makes all the difference later in life.
3. Martha Stewart
Martha Stuart is too famous to be introduced. But we’ll do out best here. She’s had a long and illustrious life and she’s going strong. Her life was not devoid of controversy though. As a businesswoman branching out, she found herself on the wrong side of the law when she was charged with inside trading. The charges landed her in jail and everybody expected that would be the end of her business empire. But a year later, she made a comeback and her business has flourished ever since. Stewart has written many cooking books and likes to grow her own veggies. Which tells you something about her lifestyle and way of cooking. So you wouldn’t expect her to be stepping into a fast food restaurant. But actually, she does. She likes In-N-Out. Now if you have watched any of her shows or read any of her cooking books, you’ll notice an emphasis on fresh ingredients and healthy food. So what does she think of In-N-Out, a fast food chain that puts taste over health choices? Martha doesn’t mince her words and thinks the food served there is OK. Not the enthusiastic endorsement one would expect, but at least she’s being honest.
2. Anthony Bourdain
A lot has been written about Anthony Bourdain. The man was a giant among chefs and TV hosts. He was a successful author who not just wrote about cooking but authored novels that took place in and around the kitchen. He was best known for his candid opinions when trying out different foods. He’s traveled the world over chasing the next exotic dish in the far corners of the globe. His travels had taken him to places not normally featured on TV like North Korea and Iran. But the affable chef knew how to win people over with his charm and sincere curiosity. He dined with heads of state and the guy in the street. He was his natural self with both. That episode of his show eating with Barack Obama in Vietnam has aired many times on CNN. We mentioned before that Bourdain hated the food they served him on the plane. And since the guy traveled a lot (almost 7 months of the year) you can imagine what he went through. Of course, he traveled first class, and the food served was the best you could get on a plane, but that didn’t help much. Bourdain preferred not to eat during the flight no matter how long it took. But if Bourdain hated plane food, what did he like? In-N-Out. He loved the burgers there so much he could write a poem about them. He wasn’t alone as this list shows.
1. Julia Child
Julia Child is no stranger to controversy herself. Maybe not on the same class as Martha Stewart, but Child is outspoken and doesn’t mince her words. When she liked something she was unapologetic. She also singlehandedly introduced the French cuisine to the masses and brought it into the mainstream. But when it comes to fast food, that’s when Child is at her loudest and proudest. She prefers more than just one fast food chain, although In-N-Out takes the prize. When she goes out of town she’s always checking the nearest outlets of the franchise. That’s love and dedication. But in reality, Child loves many burger joints. Her heart has enough space for McDonald’s and Burger King among others. It’s not just the burgers, but the fries as well. But seeing as the chef doesn’t really have a favorite chain and likes different kinds of burger joints, leads us to believe that her passion for fast food is diverse and varied. It’s something about the satisfying quality of the fast food business that attracts the celebrity chef, rather than a certain aspect of a specific brand. When asked to name the best fast food joint, Child refused to give a definite answer. Instead, she talked about what she liked about each franchise. She wasn’t just being polite or diplomatic. Child has a deep passion for the fast food industry and doesn’t shy away from making that passion known.