They helm the kitchens at some of the finest restaurants in the world and have a gaggle of Michelin stars among them. But what do chefs make when they come home late, tired, and starving, and they simply want to get a meal on the table in 10 minutes or less? Hint: Foam is not involved.
Alain Ducasse, Chef at Mix, W Retreat & Spa-Vieques, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. "Pasta with olive oil, tomato paste, olive paste, and pesto. The three are a classic combination of Mediterranean tastes: olive, tomato and basil. No cheese."
Nate Appleman, Menu development Chef, Chipotle, New York City. "Eggs of some sort. Generally just scrambled eggs, sea salt, and olive oil—that's my favorite. It's so quick and easy."
Francois Payard, Owner, FPB, New York City. "We made beautiful vegetables in the oven just simple like that, with a little rice. A pumpkin, a zucchini, a little olive oil, a little spice and we bake them in the oven. Food doesn't always have to be complicated."
Joel Robuchon, Chef, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris."Spaghetti al dente—six minutes and it's ready. With a little cheese a little bit of olive oil."
Brandon Sharp, Executive Chef, Solbar, Calistoga, California. "If you asked me this question 10 years ago, it would be fried bologna, American cheese, barbecue sauce and potato chips wrapped in a tortilla. But now, rice, vegetables and gravy is something that's really soothing to me whether it's Thai coconut curry, chili verde or ratatouille."
Ben Pollinger, Executive Chef, Oceana, New York City. "Grilled cheese. Maybe if I have some kind of leftovers like steak or chicken that my wife and kids ate I might slice them up and put it in there too."
James Botsacos, Partner/Chef, Molyvos, New York City. "Two eggs over easy seasoned lightly with oregano, granulated garlic, salt and pepper, topped with melted provolone cheese, drizzled with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, (a condiment I always have) on either crusty Italian bread or Potato Bread (lightly toasted). Served with an ice cold beer!"
And, saving the best for last—from someone who apparently has a lot of late nights:
Josh Blakely, Chef, Macao Trading Co., New York City. "Lots of sandwiches. Pastrami and cheese or sardine and mayo are my two favorites. All four of those things are always in my fridge.
"Egg salad for one: hard boil two eggs, smash, [mix in] mayo, dijon, capers, cornichons, smoked paprika. Ten minutes, and all of those jars are in the door of my fridge all the time. Usually eaten with potato chips.
"Waffles, every conceivable kind. The classic, but also sweet potato with beef stew, parmesan with chicken salad, corn meal with black beans and Mexican cheese. I've made maybe 20-25 different late-night waffles over the years.
"Sausage gravy on biscuits.
"Hot steel-cut oats with fruit, yogurt or milk.
"Soft scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage or bacon or pork chops or chorizo or...whatever leftover cooked meat is in the fridge. Always a winner.
"A quick saute of sliced potato, stinky cheese, and slices of speck or country ham, all in the same little cast iron pan."