Stories / Interviews

Ask a Chef: November Beard House Toques Share Their Guilty-Pleasure Foods

Hilary Deutsch

Hilary Deutsch

November 17, 2015


As we bundle up and brace for the dropping temperatures, there's practically nothing we enjoy more than warming ourselves from the outside in by feasting on autumn's colorful bounty. With the frost setting in, we welcome a formidable roster of culinary talent to the Beard House. Highlighting cuisines and techniques from across the globe, these top toques bring tastes of Arizona, the Bay Area, Chicago, and the U.K. (just to name a few) to the Big Apple.

We asked our November guest chefs to spill their favorite guilty-pleasure foods. Not surprisingly, grilled cheese, burgers, tacos, and ramen (amongst other hearty fare) made the cut. Read on to see what chefs really crave when their restaurant kitchens are closed.


November 2: Michael Langdon, Glenmaura National Golf Club, Moosic, PA

Great bread, European butter, and sea salt.

November 3: Tony Ferrari, Hillside Supper Club, San Francisco

A proper greasy burger. I like thin, crispy patties with lots of cheese, pickles, and caramelized onions on a brioche bun with charred edges. I’m also a huge fan of  a very simple aglio e olio pasta with pecorino.

November 3: Jonathon Sutton, Hillside Supper Club, San Francisco

An In-N-Out burger, “Animal Style.” Also, Pillsbury’s Funfetti boxed cake.

November 4: Brian Alberg, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA


November 4: Adam Brassard, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA

Anything chocolate. 

November 4: Dan Smith, John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant, South Egremont, MA

Our Farmhouse housemade ice cream.

November 4: Dan Thomas, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA

Corn dogs, dumplings, and Velveeta cheese dip.

November 4: Adam Zieminski, Cafe Adam, Great Barrington, MA

Lemon Italian ice—it’s pure sugar.

November 5: Scott L. Jones, Menton, Boston

I try not to feel guilty about what I eat. But I might look a little sheepish after eating an entire pizza followed by a pint of ice cream. Oooh, or Buffalo chicken fingers.

November 6: Walter Apfelbaum, NYY Steak at Seminole Casino, Coconut Creek, FL

All food makes me happy, especially when the chef who made the dish has a huge passion for cooking. You can taste the love for food in these kinds of dishes.

November 6: Jared Boller, Seminole Gaming, Hollywood, FL 

Tacos. I can eat tacos everyday. I love a traditional Mexican taco, but truly enjoy that I can go anywhere that serves tacos and try each restaurant’s own interpretation. I never feel too full and always feel satisfied no matter where or when I have them.

November 14: Chris Mills, JOEY Restaurants, multiple locations in Canada and Seattle

I love ramen. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. The combination of flavors with a rich broth and perfectly cooked noodles is both decadent and warm. It’s great to be comfortable with my guilt!

November 17: Claudio Cardoso, SUSHISAMBA London, London, UK

I love pizza!

November 19: Ciro Longobardo, Piccolo Sogno and Piccolo Sogno Due, Chicago

Definitely chocolate.

November 19: Tony Priolo, Piccolo Sogno and Piccolo Sogno Due, Chicago

Pasta! I cannot live without it.

November 20: Kelly Fletcher, El Chorro, Tempe, AZ

Cheeseburgers and pizza.

November 20: Joshua Hebert, Posh, Scottsdale, AZ

Fried chicken or fish and chips.

November 20: Stephen Jones, Yard Bird + The Larder at Desoto Central Market, Phoenix

Chicago dogs—they're my weakness.

November 20: Bernie Kantak, The Gladly, Phoenix; and Citizen Public House, Scottsdale, AZ 

Velveeta grilled cheese with tomatoes on Wonder Bread. It's a nostalgia thing.

November 26: Jeremy Glover, Ceia Kitchen + Bar, Newburyport, MA

Candy, preferably gummies. I usually don't stop until they’re all gone.

November 26: Justin Shoults, Brine, Newburyport, MA and Oak + Rowan, Boston

I have several guilty-pleasure foods but the one I come back to most often is spreadable cheese and crackers. More specifically, sharp cheddar pimento cheese spread with Wheat Thins. 

For all upcoming Beard House dinners, check out our events calendar.


Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.