They may be the ultimate foodies, but celebrity chefs are more like us mere mortals than you would ever believe. You would probably never classify a well-known chef as a picky eater, but even the most famous celebrity chefs have foods they just can’t stand — and some of them are definitely not what you would expect.
Personal palates are a funny thing. Some of these professional foodies detest strong spices like wasabi and cilantro. Others refuse to eat some of the most common (seemingly harmless) foods like eggs or bananas. One famous food enthusiast won’t even touch raw cookie dough (raise your hand if you agree that’s just plain crazy)! So what are the foods these top food enthusiasts won’t touch? Read on to check out what your favorite celebrity chefs refuse to eat — and to feel just a little bit better about some of your own strange food aversions.
Food Network Star Ree Drummond is funny, charming, and down-to-earth. She’s also honest and doesn’t hold back about what she doesn’t like. When she wrote about her least favorite fruit, bananas, on her own site, she used three words to describe them: "Abhor, loathe and recoil." That just about sums it up!
Drummond has developed some banana recipes for her fans over the years, but they are not her favorite. When asked about her perfect dish by Design and Living Magazine, she immediately took a shot at the yellow fruit. "Oh gosh, well again, if it doesn’t have bananas. I don’t like bananas. I like to drive that point home. The perfect recipe is something that results in what you want to eat," she told the magazine.
There’s not much to hate about green bell peppers. They’re like lettuce — crisp and crunchy without any strong taste. However, that’s exactly why Chef Aaron Sanchez told Food Network he won’t touch them. "I like red bell peppers and yellow peppers, but green bell peppers just don’t taste like much of anything," he said.
Even though many chefs love spicy food with bold flavors, not everyone can get on board. Chef Katie Lee told Food Network that she just can’t do wasabi. "I love spicy food, so I’m not sure why I have this aversion to wasabi, but I really detest it," she said.
While Lee holds the wasabi, she’s up for other spicy bites. "Probably if you asked me the weirdest thing you’d find in my purse, [it] would be hot sauce," she told Food Network in a different interview. "I carry around packets of hot sauce. When that Beyoncé song ["Formation"] came out and she said, ‘Hot sauce in [my] bag swag,’ I was like: ‘Yep! I got mine.’"
The late chef Anthony Bourdain traveled like no one else. So it may be a little surprising to hear that while he spent much of his time on a plane, he wouldn’t eat the food they serve. When asked if he’d ever consider eating the plane snacks, Bourdain didn’t hesitate. "Never. No one has ever felt better after eating plane food. I think people only eat it because they’re bored. I don’t eat on planes. I like to arrive hungry," he told Bon Appetit. "For a super-long flight, I’d order cheese and s**t load of port. I’d eat some cheese and drink myself stupid."
Because Bourdain refused the plane food, he once decided to bring his own food on his flight, but never again. "If you want to be the most despised person in the cabin, bring some good barbecue on and have everybody in the plane smell it," he said. "I brought some Joe’s BBQ on the plane from Kansas City once, and the look of pure loathing on everyone’s faces as I gnawed on my ribs—I wouldn’t care to repeat it."
Licorice seems to be one of those flavors that you either love or hate. For Chef Donal Skehan, it’s a strong hatred. "I absolutely hate licorice," he told Food Network. "Just hands down, I do not like it as a flavor."
Skehan travels the world trying new dishes and flavors, but licorice will never end up on his plate.
Some people think pineapple pizza is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Gordon Ramsay disagrees. When hosting The Nightly Show, Ramsay decided to order pizzas for the audience. Audience members called out toppings while he phoned in the order, and when one person asked for pineapple pizza, Ramsay lost it in his signature way. "You don’t put pineapple on a f***ing pizza!" he barked at the audience.
After ordering pepperoni pizzas for the group, he reminded the restaurant employee at the end of the call, "And no pineapple anywhere." You don’t mess with Ramsay and his pizza.
Gordon Ramsay doesn’t just hate pineapple pizza. To that list, you can also add grits, American sandwiches, and deep fried turkey. "It was f***ing disgusting," Ramsay said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "Dry turkey… there’s a reason we only eat that turkey once a year."
Colbert disagreed in his own hilarious way. "I’m from the south, everything is deep fried," he explained. "We dip it in concrete, and then we deep fat fry it."
Okra is a green vegetable that can be used in soups or stews. However, for Tia Mowry, host of Tia Mowry at Home, it’s not coming into her kitchen. "I can’t tell you when the last time I had okra [was]. I think I was, like, maybe 12 years old, and it was disgusting," Mowry told Food Network. "I will never, ever forget. It’s gross. I hate, hate, hate okra."
When chefs don’t like certain foods, they have to decide if they are willing to create recipes with them. Many people love coconut, but Chef Giada De Laurentiis can’t stand it and doesn’t like to cook with it.
"I don’t like coconut," she told People. "I may have one coconut recipe in all the recipes I’ve ever written."
Another food you won’t find in De Laurentiis’ recipes? Green peppers. "I don’t like the flavor or the look. No green peppers will ever be found in any of my recipes," she said.
Food Network Star Ina Garten loves creating classic comfort food dishes, but don’t expect to see any cilantro in her food. "Hate it!" Garten said when being interviewed on VICE‘s Munchies podcast. "I know people love it, and you can add it to the recipe. I just hate it. To me it’s so strong—and it actually tastes like soap to me—but it’s so strong it overpowers every other flavor."
Truffles might be right up there at the top of the list when it comes to classy foods, but truffle oil? Not so much.
Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich both made their feelings about truffle oil perfectly clear in one tense episode of MasterChef (via the Los Angeles Times). When one contestant drizzled her dish in white truffle oil, they didn’t pull any punches: Bastianich walked over to her station and threw the cylinder of truffle oil in the garbage after saying any restaurant who had it on the menu wasn’t worth eating at. Ramsay called it "One of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef." The reason for that is because it’s not made from real truffles.
They’re not the only ones that refuse to have anything to do with truffle oil. Alton Brown once told Grub Street, "Truffle oil sucks," and when Today asked Martha Stewart what was on her naughty list, she had this to say: "Oh, I would never use truffle oil, oh never."
There was no hesitation, and she continued, "It’s bad. They’ve done many studies on truffle oil. It’s synthetic, it’s fake, it’s horrible. It clings to your tastebuds, it’s a hideous thing."
Anthony Bourdain was on the list of truffle oil-haters, too, once calling it "about as edible as Astroglide and made from the same stuff."
Soup du jour (regardless of what it is)
It’s an old joke: the customer asks wait staff, "What’s the soup du jour?" And they respond, "The soup of the day."
Hilarious! According to Gordon Ramsay, though, the soup du jour isn’t actually a laughing matter, it’s one of the items on a restaurant’s menu that he absolutely wants nothing to do with.
When Town & Country asked him what he recommended never, ever ordering at a restaurant, he had this bit of wisdom to offer: "Ask what yesterday’s soup du jour was before today’s special. It may be the case that it’s the soup do month."
The idea of getting something served up that’s been reheated and reused for days suddenly doesn’t sound so good, does it? The idea of a "soup of the day" makes it sound like it’s something that’s going to be super fresh, but take it from Ramsay — that’s not often the case and you should probably follow in his footsteps and opt for something else.
Foie gras is a highly controversial food, and we’re not going to show you photos of why. It’s essentially made by force-feeding geese, and it’s not pleasant. Fortunately, a number of chefs have spoken out against it and the practice, saying they’re against the industry in its entirety.
French chef Albert Roux has said that packages of foie gras should feature information about the treatment of the birds who were force-fed in order to make it, and a massive animal welfare campaign — spearheaded by James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore — led to it being banned from Selfridges. When one shady seller was caught selling it under-the-counter, Nigella Lawson was named as one of the people who had purchased it illegally. According to The Irish Independent, she swiftly denied buying or using it — and she hired lawyers to make sure her point was perfectly clear.
Best-selling French cookbook author Trish Deseine has also condemned the industry as being insanely cruel (via The Guardian), and the Food Network’s Ayesha Curry won’t eat it, either — although she told ET it’s not as much because of the cruelty for her: "… foie gras, I don’t like it. I just don’t. I’ve tried it several different ways and I think it’s a texture thing for me."
It was Chopped judge Scott Conant who was very, very vocal about his hate of raw red onions on one particular episode, and it apparently made a huge impact on his fans. When Food Republic asked him about the 10 things in life that he hated the most, he explained that fans haven’t let him forget about it. "I’ve had enough of the red onions jokes for the past three years to last me a lifetime. And not a single one has been funny," he said.
French chef Jean Christophe Novelli can definitely understand where he’s coming from, but he loathes onions of a different sort. When What’s On asked him what he hated and would never eat, he had this to say: "I really hate cooked onions. Obviously, I use them in my dishes. But if someone gave me a plate of cooked onions, I’d never be able to eat it."
To give you an idea of just how much he really, really hates the idea of chowing down on a plate of cooked onions, there was only one other thing on his never-would-I-ever list: "Anything with hair in it!"
Takeout of any kind
Every so often, we hear something about our favorite celebrity chefs that really serves to remind you that they live in an entirely different world.
Take Mary Berry. She’s written more than 70 cookbooks and made the world fall in love with her on the Great British Bake Off, but if you think that after a long day of filming she might grab some takeout on the way home, you’d be mistaken.
She was on James Martin’s Christmas With Friends (via The Telegraph) when she remarked, "You won’t believe this, but I haven’t ever had a takeaway." That’s not entirely surprising, as she’s been very vocal about her belief that Britain "orders in and eats out" way too much, and should start making more home-cooked meals.
It’s entirely possible she’s the only person in Britain who’s never ordered out for a pizza, a curry, or even fish and chips. And according to The Telegraph, that’s not just a shame, it’s a sign that she’s missing out on an entire section of British cuisine and culture. The takeaway isn’t just kebab meat of questionable origin anymore, it’s sushi, jackfruit burgers, ramen, and cuisine from Sri Lanka to Jamaica. Ordering takeaway isn’t a mark of shame — it’s a part of the foodie landscape!
"We did not grow up with mayonnaise in my house," she said on The Rachael Ray Show. "We just didn’t have it around. It’s weird to me. The consistency is weird to me. […] Something about a shelf-stable egg freaks me out."
She goes on to say that she’s fine with mayo and aioli as long as she makes it, but she just can’t do the stuff on the grocery store shelf. Strangely, this isn’t uncommon. According to The Huffington Post, there’s a lot of people who just can’t stomach the idea of mayo. They interviewed experts who chalked it up to a few reasons: it’s an inanimate object that shouldn’t wiggle, but does, it bears an undeniable resemblance to various bodily fluids, it’s that whole "room temperature" thing, and it just looks like something we shouldn’t be eating, or something that’s going to make us sick. Yum!
Lentils, says Healthline, are basically edible seeds. They’re a part of the legume family, and they’re extremely nutritious. They might be packed full of vitamins and nutrients, and they might have so much protein and iron that they’re pretty much the perfect thing to add to a vegetarian diet, but none of that will ever convince Bobby Flay to put them on any of his menus.
He told The New York Times, "Whenever I tell somebody I hate lentils, they’re shocked. There are a lot of lentil fans out there."
And it’s not just a personal hate, either — he hates lentils so much that when he opened Bar Americain, he vetoed a dish based solely on the fact that it contained lentils. It was a beet and goat cheese salad — with lentils — and it got the axe. That’s not to say you’ll never get lentils at one of his restaurants, because when the boss is away, it turns out that the chefs will, indeed, play.
"When I go on vacation," he says, "they run specials on lentils." Now you know how to tell if he’s out of town!
Carrots might seem like an odd thing to swear off of, but according to The New York Times, it’s one thing that Alex Guarnaschelli wants absolutely nothing to do with.
"I will serve baby carrots," she told them. "But once it gets over two inches long, I break into a cold sweat."
Why? Because early in her career, she was a sous-chef at Paris’s La Butte Chaillot, and julienne carrots were always on the menu. Like… always. Permanently. And that meant she was responsible for julienning a lot of carrots, and it’s understandable how little carrots might be something that she’d never want to see again. "Now, I have a panic attack when I see shredded carrot in a salad," she told them.
It doesn’t matter how much of a foodie you are, everyone keeps a few frozen pizzas in their fridge for those nights where they just can’t. They’re quick, they’re easy, and if you happen to have some extra cheese and toppings to throw on, they’re usually not terrible. But Ted Allen says that while he’s fine with eating eyeballs and brains, he absolutely won’t eat a frozen pizza.
"People should not eat frozen pizza," he told Time. "Ever. It’s terrible. All of it’s awful, just packed with the lowest quality ingredients, lousy sauces, and they’re overpriced for what they are. It’s not a good product. There’s so much sodium, so many calories, and artificial crap, and preservatives."
But! Sometimes you just want something that will cook itself in the time it’ll take you to find something on Netflix. His suggestion is pretty brilliant: next time you order out for a pizza, order an extra one, individually wrap the slices, and freeze them. Problem solved!
"Healthy" juice drinks
It’s true: there’s something that Andrew Zimmern won’t eat. You wouldn’t guess it from watching Bizarre Foods, but there are some things that Zimmern turns his nose up at — and you probably have them in your kitchen right now.
Sweet cereals are an absolute "no," and he also warned Time: "…the processed meats on your deli shelf are probably worse for you than anything I eat."
And another absolute hard pass?
"Every time you turn around, there’s an apple juice bottle, or, even worse, the refrigerated area where there’s bottles of Naked Juice and some of those other companies. It’s walls of drinks, and it’s not just juice in there. Certain juices can be helpful, but some have 45 grams of sugar per portion. They’re more like kiddie milkshakes being sold as nutritionally balanced products, and it’s very difficult for us as consumers to make sense of them. People say, ‘Oh, it’s vegetables and fruits and yogurt.’ No, it’s not."
Most breakfast foods
If there’s one thing that American cuisine does right, it’s breakfast. There are just so many options, from yogurt parfaits to stacks of pancakes and waffles, from breakfast sandwiches to omelets and those delicious, guilty-pleasure platters you can only get at Denny’s. But there’s one chef that refuses to eat any of those things, and that’s Ina Garten.
She told Bon Appetit, "I’ve had the same thing for breakfast every single day for ten years: coffee and McCann’s quick-cooking Irish oatmeal with lots of salt. I don’t want it to taste like wallpaper paste."
That was in 2017, so by now, she’s had well over 4,000 cups of coffee and bowls of oatmeal. That’s a lot of oats! At least they’re good for you!
The Barefoot Contessa might not have any doughnuts hanging around her house, but for all the breakfast foods she doesn’t eat, there’s four things that she says are always, always in her freezer: homemade stock, soup, vanilla Haagen-Daaz, and Grey Goose vodka. Sounds like a party!