Fast-food is something we all indulge in at some point. Everyone has their go-to order – their own little guilty pleasure – even renowned chefs. Their innovative cuisine and refined palates have nothing on the greatness a good fast-food meal can provide. So, here are the Top 15 Fast-Food Cravings From Chefs Around The World.
If you often find yourself craving a juicy, burger from In-N-Out, you’re not the only one! Many famous chefs have admitted that In-N-Out was their all-time favorite fast-food joint – and for good reason. Anthony Bourdain, for instance, claimed that In-N-Out was his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, praising the bun, good quality meat, non-limp fresh greens, and the perfect “cheese-like substance.” The west coast favorite also gained the approval of another very opinionated chef, Gordon Ramsay, who says the burgers are just extraordinary – especially the Double-Double. Other famous chefs who have all proclaimed their undying love of the chain are Tyler Florence, whose order is an Animal Style Double-Double Cheeseburger, Alton Brown, who called the burgers definitive, greasy but oddly clean-tasting; and Ina Garten, who doesn’t eat fast-food except for In-N-Out. Julia Child was even rumored to have carried a list of In-N-Out locations around in her purse. Apparently, no one does it quite like In-N-Out.
14. Big Mac
A classic in the fast-food world. The ultimate late-night craving. And one of the most popular and delicious items to ever exist; the Big Mac. Almost everyone has a soft spot for this particular burger; after all, it has been around for a very long time, and a classic never gets old. Chris Willis, the chef-owner of Pammy’s in Boston, has revealed that despite “all the new concepts, discoveries, and whatever is being hyped on social media by the ‘foodie’ crowd,” he always finds himself drawn to the Big Mac. “I’m all about the double beef.” Another chef, Henry Pariser, who works at the Goose Island Brewhouse in Chicago, has also admitted being smitten by the Big Mac. His full guilty pleasure is a Big Mac with fries and an Oreo McFlurry, saying he likes the sweet and salty combination. So, next time you find yourself craving a good old Big Mac, just tell yourself you’re not alone.
Here’s another craving that revolves around burgers – can we really blame anyone, though? Burgers are tasty in any way, shape, or form. You could say that Tim Love, Iron Chef America participant, loves burgers. Like, really loves them. He does serve up an array of drool-worthy burgers at his restaurants, but, when asked where he’d go to satisfy his burger craving, the answer is not one of his own restaurants. Instead, he admits to going to the one and only Whataburger. Love explained that Whataburger is like “a fresh, clean, Texas version of McDonald’s.” The thing that always keeps him going back is his go-to order; “Whataburger with cheese, bacon, and jalapeños, and two sausage-and-egg taquitos.” Whataburger is another rising chef star’s favorite burger spot, Adam Biderman. For him, the best thing to get is a Double Whataburger, no pickles, no mustard, wet (as in, with mayo), with added cheese, and paired with fries and a sweet tea. Double the pleasure, double the fun.
Culver’s is a classic mid-Western fast-food chain that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. It serves amazing burgers, custard, and above all, their classic cheese curds. While you might be a fan of these mighty cheese curds, you are definitely not the only one. For Tony Mantuano, an influential culinary force and native Wisconsinite, Culver’s is the one fast-food place he cannot say no to. Especially when it comes to the cheese curds. “They’re perfectly fried, gooey, and completely Midwestern,” he revealed in an online interview. Another one with a soft spot for Culvers? Andrew Zimmern. The famous chef and host has admitted having a weakness for the custard and the hamburgers, saying it’s a family favorite. We’ve got to admit, all this good publicity about Culver’s might finally earn the chain the support and respect it deserves.
11. New York Slice
The love of pizza is almost a universal. On a busy weeknight, or for a big office party, a pizza delivery can save the day. There is a lot of speculation out there about which city makes the greatest pizza out there, and while the answer might never be unanimous, there is one chef in particular that has a very strong opinion about the pizza in New York. Richard Zaro, the owner of Cutlets Sandwich Co., says there isn’t a better pizza in the world than a New York Slice. His reasoning? He lives in New York City, so it’s got to be pizza! He claims he will always “sneak a slice in on his way home to ‘complement’ whatever his wife is making for dinner.” Funnily enough, Andrew Zimmern also has a soft spot for pizza, but for him, it’s gas station pizza; two different worlds, literally.
10. Fish And Chips
Ah, a British classic! For those unfamiliar with this culinary icon, fish and chips is a hot dish made up of fried fish in batter served with chips – which you probably know as french fries. Fish and chips might not be the most common offering at fast-food restaurants, but that doesn’t stop Ravinder Bhogal, founder of Jikoni, food writer, and chef, from loving the dish. That is if it’s well-made, of course. According to her, a good plate of fish and chips should have fish that’s “spankingly fresh, the batter has to have an off-the-Richter crunch without a hint of grease, and the chips should have a crisp exterior with a soft, pillowy interior.” She usually eats it doused with sea salt and plenty of malt vinegar, a big gherkin, and plenty of tartare sauce. London fish and chips has never sounded so good!
9. Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Eric Sjaaheim, a chef at Fat Rice in Chicago Ilinois, says that for him, eating fast-food is a very rare occurrence. He doesn’t succumb to the temptation very often, but when he does, he drives directly to Wendy’s to get his hands on the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. To him, it’s the best thing to eat while driving or if your recovering from illness. He says there’s something comforting in the simplicity of it all. He praises the pillowy bun, the juicy, spicy chicken breast, as well as the fresh produce and mayo used to perfect his “quick six bite snack.” For the head chef at ButcherBox, Yankel Polak, it’s the same deal. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is his go-to drive-through order whenever he’s coming back home from the gym.
8. Chicken Nuggets
No matter where you go, chances are, you will find chicken nuggets on the menu. Chicken nuggets are probably one of the most beloved fast-food items – by young and old, and apparently, by famous chefs as well! The previously mentioned Yankel Polak not only has a soft spot for Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but also the chicken nuggets! He deems them as the “perfect post-workout” meal. Paola Velez, the co-founder of Bakers Against Racism and pastry chef at Maydan in Washington, has also expressed her love for chicken nuggets. Whenever she’s overworked or really stressed out, ordering chicken nuggets, fries, and a Coke always helps her get through it. But, “not the processed kind though,” as she made clear in her statement – although chicken nuggets are processed, aren’t they?
7. Chili-Cheese Anything
Sometimes, there’s just some type of food that you simply have to have, and you can’t always control it. Whether it’s something sweet or salty, your tastebuds want what your tastebuds want. And Carolize Coetzee’s tastebuds demand anything with chili-cheese. Carolize Coetzee is an executive chef at Tokara Restaurant in South Africa. Anything with cheese and a little bit of spice – like chili-cheese poppers, chili-cheese fries, or even chili-cheese nachos, and she is good to go! You can pretty much turn anything into a chili-cheese bonaza. A burrito, a dip, and even a piece of toast. She also has a little soft spot for the sweet stuff; vanilla soft-serve with any caramel element; salted caramel, fudge, butterscotch – you name it, and she likes it!
In search of some of the best-fried chicken offerings out there? Look no further than Popeyes! Not only is it exquisite, but the chain also has the stamp of approval of many renowned chefs. Like David Chang. Although, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Chang’s favorite guilty pleasure is Popeyes. He was so in love with fried chicken; he opened his own fast-casual fried chicken joint in 2015! Whenever he feels a craving for the crispy-battered treat creeping up, he heads straight to Popeyes, much like Ronnie Evans, co-owner of Blue Oak BBQ. The supposed perfect order consists of spicy dark meat chicken, a few biscuits, red beans and rice, and a whole pickled jalapeño for dessert. And, none other than the founder of the hugely popular Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, treats himself to some crispy, spicy chicken from Popeyes a couple of times a year.
Okay, let’s face it, wings are a guilty pleasure for a lot of people. More and more fast-food restaurants are starting to offer their own version of chicken wings, and this makes a lot of chefs happy. Saiphin Moore, for instance, owner of Rosa’s Thai Cafe and Lao cafe in London, has said to have a solid crush on KFC’s hot wings with laab sauce. Only available on the menu in KFC Thailand, she needed to find a way to satisfy her craving, so she started making her own at home and eats them once or twice a year! Then there’s Chef Jet Tila, who’s also a big fan of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s hot-wings, only no sauce, just dry! According to him, they have the perfect skin-to-fat-to-meat ratio and holds a special place in his heart. Sometimes, you just can’t beat a chicken wing!
4. Doritos Loco Taco Supreme
Another pretty common fast food stop is Taco Bell and its crazy menu items! Obviously, by putting together one extremely successful chain with a just-as-successful brand, you can’t help but create a masterpiece in the fast-food industry; the Doritos Loco Taco Supreme. It was a pretty genius idea to turn Doritos chips into a Taco Bell hard shell, at least, that’s what Emily Yuen, the executive chef of Bessou said. A Doritos Loco Taco Supreme with Fire sauce along with a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze to wash it all down is perfection to her. Then there’s Justin Burdett, the chef at Crook’s Corner who would do anything for his Taco Bell order. It includes three Soft Taco Supremes, three Doritos Locos Tacos, two bean burritos, an order of Nachos BellGrande, and a Mexican Pizza, with so much Fire Sauce and Diablo Sauce that they make him pay a little extra. He says he works long hours and usually only eats one meal a day. That amount of food should cover it then!
3. French Fries Or Hash Browns
Just about any fast-food meal is made a hundred times better when it’s served with French fries. Sure, other substitutes can be suitable, but nothing ever really beats the power of these salty, crispy potatoes. Many chefs have confirmed this theory, like Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, chefs and co-owners of Boia De in Miami. They have admitted to sometimes going up to the counter just to order some French fries and nothing else: “they’re so good, so satisfying, and just a couple cents.” And if it’s the morning, then no problem, they can just get a couple of hash browns to go! For Jason More, the corporate executive chef of Schlotzky’s Austin Eatery, it’s the side of Seasoned Curly Fries at Arby’s that makes his meal the best. And of course, we can’t forget the iconic waffle fries from Chick-fil-A, which are adored by many, including Holly Jivin, chef at The Bazaar.
2. Roast Beef Sandwich
You might grow tired of the regular burger and fries sometimes, it happens. And when it does, you can always count on Arby’s to have something completely different waiting for you. A lot of chefs have expressed their favoritism for Arby’s and their Classic Roast Beef Sandwiches. Like Terryl Gavre, a San Diego restaurateur proprietor of Cafe 22, who says her favorite restaurant is Arby’s and it’s mostly because of the sauces – or maybe only because the sauces. Her secret indulgence is the Arby’s Sauce and the Horsey Sauce on a Roast Beef Sandwich without cheese – she doesn’t want anything to distract from the meat and sauces. She drenches the sandwich with both sauces, reapplying sauce after each bite. She praises the super-soft, steamed bun with the salty meat, claiming it’s a winning combination! So, if you’re ever sick of your usual fast-food order, now you have something new to try out!
We’ve gone over many professional chefs’ personal preferences when it comes to fast-food orders – some more standard and others a little more out there. However, there is one particular chef who has an even more unusual taste in fast-food, Martha Stewart. You might be surprised to see the woman who grows her own veggies and collects fresh eggs every morning on a list about fast-food cravings – and you would be right. Let’s just say she doesn’t exactly come off as the kind of person who hits the drive-thru after a long day at work. Her favorite fast-food is… well, no fast food. According to Stewart, she has only eaten fast-food four times in her life. Yes, total. She once said that she never ate fast food. She would proudly tell you that she’s eaten at Burger King once and maybe twice at McDonald’s… oh, and once at an In-N-Out burger, which she described as okay. She went on to say that it’s not her favorite food and that she would much rather have a salad or sushi or something like that. To be fair, four times is probably not enough to make a permanent decision not to eat fast-food; maybe a couple more times would help, Martha!