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Guilty pleasure meals of the top Twin Cities chefs

Too fancy for Cheetos? Not a chance.

Too fancy for Cheetos? Not a chance.

When a profession hinges on sensual pleasure, what happens to those senses off the clock? What kind of action do porn stars go for when the camera isn’t rolling? In the case of a chef, long hours are spent in the creation, testing, and tasting of sometimes the most indulgent of dishes. And with constant access to prime cuts, parfait, paté, and soufflé, there comes a time when the craving is for comfort. So what do chefs enjoy on a day off, after a hard day’s night, or when they need a taste of home?

Pat Weber, chef/owner, Mise En Place Consulting

The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

I like greasy spoon truck-stop breakfasts…eggs over easy, hash browns, bacon, and toast. I’ve probably never been to the same truck stop twice. The Elbow Room in Albert Lea easily has the best burger in that town. It’s a great place to support and the meat comes from a local locker.

A dish that really takes me home:

My mom used to make thing called a Kratzeti, which is basically a crispy scrambled pancake made just with regular pancake batter and lots of butter.

Thomas Boemer of Corner Table

Thomas Boemer of Corner Table

Tatum Barile, culinary instructor, The Art Institutes International Minnesota

The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

I have a newfound love for ranch dressing. I didn’t even know I liked it, but I’ll drizzle that on a late-night salad with extra vinaigrette. I love cheese melted over shitty nachos so they’re like plastic after nuking with really hot sauce. I go for Frito-Lay spicy bean dip…and I dip everything in it. That bean dip is so fucking good.

A dish that really takes me home:

My mother’s sausage and peppers with a side of San Francisco sourdough bread.

Steven Brown, chef/owner, Tilia

The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

One of my wife’s weird comfort food things is Jack’s pizza. I come home…stick the half-eaten pizza in the microwave, douse it with a bunch of hot sauce and eat it like a cardboard pizza sandwich.

A dish that really takes me home:

My grandma used to make what she called cold salad. But it was like a macaroni salad with mayonnaise, and she would buy these little tiny canned brine shrimp and mix them with California black olives, corn and celery… and then put some green onions in it with extra pepper. I make that a couple times a year.

Steven Brown of Tilia

Steven Brown of Tilia

Ann Kim, chef/owner, Pizzeria Lola

The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

I love Costco hot dogs. You can find me at the Costco with a giant-ass cart and a hot dog loading it up with onions and mustard and relish.

A dish that really takes me home:

I have kimchi at all times in my refrigerator. It’s in my DNA. I grew up with it. When I was in the womb my mother was eating it. For me, nothing says home like kimchi. When I’m eating just about anything, I’ll have it with a side of kimchi. It’s my version of a pickle.

Tatum Barlie of the Art Institutes International Minnesota

Tatum Barlie of the Art Institutes International Minnesota

Thomas Boemer, chef/co-owner, Corner Table

The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

After work, sometimes I’ll go to the gas station on Diamond Lake and Nicollet — it’s like a treasure trove of frozen-pub pizza. And I do a rotation of every kind. I’ll stop by and pick up a Heggies pizza or a Red Baron. Or else I’ll get shitty Americanized Chinese delivery with a grip of egg rolls. I know for a fact that some chefs hit Taco Bell with a diet coke four or five times a week. No one will admit it, but I could count them off...

A dish that really takes me home:

Homemade dumplings by my wife or simple buttered noodles.

Gavin Kaysen, chef/co-owner, Spoon and Stable

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The chow I reach for after a shift or on a day off:

My wife will hide a bag of Cheetos from me around the house if there is one because she knows I will eat way too many. And I can just crush a pan of warm rice crispy bars.

A dish that really takes me home:

Whole-roasted chicken takes me back to the days when my brother and I were the cooks of the family.