Guilty Pleasures: Local Chefs Reveal Their Junk Food Vices

By Lenora Dannelke, who admits to a penchant for Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink.


Professional chefs may tempt customers with gourmet ingredients and exquisite presentations, but their personal cravings tend to be much more basic.


Domenico Lombardo

The Mint Gastropub

“It’s kind of the norm that kitchen guys, working with beautiful foods all the time, tend to love the worst foods for us. Really, we have terrible eating habits.” Though having renounced his long-time fast food routine in favor of a more healthful lifestyle, he recalls Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches as a particular favorite. “Every day I’d have a list of things to grab from all these different stores, and ‘the thing to do’ was to get a breakfast sandwich and a big, overly sweetened iced coffee. That’s my vice. I still miss it.”


Shawn Doyle

Savory Grille

“I love crispy cheese fries, but I go back and forth with pierogies.” He also likes to head to The Brass Rail in Allentown for a cheesesteak sub. “With hot peppers, of course ? and cheese fries.”


Sean Rainey

The Bayou Southern Kitchen & Bar

“When I get home from work I like to hit tortilla chips dipped in sambal oelek” ? an incendiary Indonesian pepper paste typically dispensed in tiny dabs, not scooped up by the mouthful. “It’s a love-hate thing.”


Drew Stark

Hamilton Kitchen & Bar

A lifelong passion for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches has been the source of gentle ribbing by family and friends. “My grandfather would say, ‘Are you still eating those?'” In fact, he is, and he doesn?t require “fancy organic” peanut butter or gourmet jellies. Regular supermarket varieties fill his requirement of being “easy and accessible.”


Greg Fiedler

Roar Social House

“Spam is one of my guilty pleasures.” His taste for Spam was acquired during childhood camping trips with the Boy Scouts. “It’s got to be cooked hard though, and have a little bark on the outside.” And it needs to be the original flavor. “I’m a purist about classic Spam.”


Christopher Heath

Melt, blue, Torre

“I’m a sweet tooth. Candy is one of my addictions, especially around Halloween.” His all-time favorite since childhood, however, is the Heath Bar. “That?s my namesake! The combination of toffee and chocolate is perfection.” He also likes to concoct desserts that incorporate these flavors ? though he makes his toffee from scratch.”


Ricky Heinrichs

Spinnerstown Hotel

“I’m a big junkie for pizza, and I’m big on chips ? any kind except salt and vinegar. And I definitely go for Tostitos. It?s kind of weird that what I eat is the opposite of my cooking style.” He also admits to being a “nibbler” who likes to have pretzels and other crunchy foods on hand.


John Pukanecz

Grille 3501

While now embracing healthier eating habits, he recalls a preferred indulgence from the past. “One of my favorite things when I’d come home from work would be Doritos and sour cream ? I’d eat it just like that. I’d be tired, it was easy, and that was my binge.”


Erin Panzek

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana

“Everybody always says ‘You’re a chef in a restaurant and your husband is a baker [at Egypt Star Bakery], you guys must eat so well at home!’ The truth is, we eat cereal and Pop Tarts.” She notes that after they both spend the day working and cooking, there’s often only enough time at night to shower and make a quick pastry in the toaster. “The go-to junk food I can’t live without would definitely have to be cherry Pop Tarts.”


Craig Buttler

Saranda?s on Broadway

“I can’t do it all the time due to the location, but I’m a sucker for a good Philly cheesesteak from Pat’s [King of Steaks in Philadelphia].” After working in the Caribbean and other exotic locales, this area native is glad to once again have access to a favorite childhood food.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2016 Issue

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