What Chefs Really Eat at the End of the Day

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It’s common knowledge that chefs work long hours and are busy preparing food for others. There’s a ton of articles and TV shows telling us what chefs like to cook.

But are these meals that they “like” to prepare what they actually eat themselves?

At the end of a 12-16 hour day or a 70-80 hour work week, do they head into their kitchen at home and start making these meals they’ve told us about on TV and in magazines?

I wonder…

I am personally not a chef but am married to one. Obviously I can’t speak for all chefs in the world as I haven’t met them all. However, having been married to a chef for 18 years and having interacted with quite a few chefs and their wives/husbands and significant others, I think it’s time to be truthful about this topic and put an end to this myth about how chefs eat at home.

When my chef/husband comes home after a 12-16 hour day, he’s usually pretty hungry, thirsty and exhausted. He might have had something to eat before the dinner rush during the family meal at the restaurant, or he might have stopped at one of his favorite taco trucks on the way home. But if not, he’s starving!

So what does he grab when he walks in the door?

It’s probably not what you think.

Top Ramen

No that picture is not a mistake. It’s Top Ramen (or Ramen Noodle Soup depending on the brand you buy.)

Yes, my husband is an Executive Chef of a large fine dining restaurant and the #1 food he eats after working a crazy amount of hours in a professional kitchen is Top Ramen.

(And yes, I realize I have no life… I just took a picture of the Top Ramen in my pantry. It’s late, the kids are asleep, my chef/husband is still at work. Why not?)

Now, I should be honest. It’s not JUST Top Ramen. He throws whatever else he can find in the fridge into it as well and it’s always topped with Sriracha. But still, it’s Top Ramen.

Glamorous, isn’t it?

Now I know what some of you are thinking.

“Maybe it’s just your husband. Why in the world would a chef of a fine dining restaurant eat Top Ramen at the end of the day? I’m sure not all chefs do that.”

You’re right. Not all chefs do.

what chefs really eat at the end of the daySome eat frozen pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese and Triscuits, Campbells soup, lunch meat and cheese, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, leftovers, ham sandwiches, black beans and tortillas smothered in Sriracha, graham crackers, chocolate milk, Vienna sausage and rice… the list could go on and on, but you get the picture.

It’s true.

When I asked my fellow chef wives and significant others, this is what they said. Each one of their spouses has their own “comfort” food, the food they go to when they are exhausted.

Now in all fairness, chefs do not eat like this all the time. When my chef/husband has a day off, we do eat well. Nothing fancy (usually), but he somehow makes whatever I had planned for dinner taste amazing. I look in the refrigerator and think we have nothing to eat. He looks in the refrigerator and creates dinner. The times he plans AND prepares the meal, it’s perfect and I eat way too much. That just doesn’t happen very often.

So just to set the record straight, most chefs, after a crazy long day in the kitchen are not going home and preparing these amazing meals for themselves. They are eating to survive after working hard to prepare great food for the rest of us.

So if you are a chef, or know someone who is, what do you eat after working a 12-16 hour day? Did your comfort food make the list above? We want to know! Feel free to add your favorite go-to food in the comments below.

From one chef wife to another,




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This post was also published on The Huffington Post.


  1. Chandler Tomayko

    Cereal would have to be what I add to the list. Hot or cold, but cereal is probably one of my favorite come home late from work go-tos. Everything else was pretty much covered! 😀

    • Jennifer

      Thanks Chandler. I heard cereal from a few other chefs too. 🙂

  2. Matthew Matuza

    I honestly will just eat whatever I can find. Mainly junk food….

      • Matthew Matuza

        Well knowing many things about fast good places, I don’t eat there often. Haha. I usually will just turn to the handy mac and cheese or pizza rolls

  3. Rose

    My lovely man will it anything unhealthy and quick!

    • Jennifer

      Haha! Sounds familiar! 🙂

  4. Margaret

    Pizza, Chinese take out, Mexican from the crockpot, McDonald’s, lots of soup, spaghetti and yes… We have cases of Ramen noodles and bottles of spinach. Married to a chef for 10 years. Oh and anything the kids have leftover. Hotdogs, Mac and cheese, chicken nuggets.

  5. Margaret

    Not spinach. Sriracha Haha

    • Jennifer

      Healthy. 🙂 Leftovers are always good. I was going to ask what a bottle of spinach was – lol! Yuck!! Sriracha is a staple condiment in our home too!! 🙂 Thanks Margaret! Glad you found me!
      Jennifer recently posted…So You Think You Want to Marry a Chef . . .My Profile

  6. Stacey

    Even before I saw the picture, my guess was going to be easy, like a bowl of cereal. Granted, I might be projecting my desires there. When the boys allergies didn’t line up I was making two or three meals for dinner and there were times I was just burnt out and didn’t want to make something for myself so I grabbed cereal or instant mashed potatoes. I’m not a chef, but I can understand that exhaustion. I used to work at a catering company doing cooking all day.
    Stacey recently posted…If OnlyMy Profile

    • Jennifer

      I think easy is the key!

      Cooking multiple meals because of allergies would be terribly exhausting! From how you worded it, sounds like it’s a bit easier now though. 🙂 Hope you don’t have to eat cereal for dinner too often!
      Jennifer recently posted…The Chef Wives are Talking (part 2) . . .My Profile

  7. teguh

    instant noodle soup definitely

    • Jennifer

      Quick, easy and salty, right? 🙂

  8. Alex

    This post is SO accurate. My SO & I are both chefs with opposite schedules, so very often, one of us is home & we have exquisite homemade dinners. During the holiday season, Mother’s day or Valentine’s day, however, when we’re both pulling a 60 hour week, at best, it’s veggie quesadillas, mac & cheese with hot dogs, regular hot dogs, frozen turkey burgers, or Progresso tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches. At worst, it’s cereal, yogurt/fruit, or 24-hr fast food restaurant on the way home.

    • Jennifer

      Haha! Sounds about right! Bummer that even though you are both in the profession you have opposite schedules. Do you work at the same restaurant? 🙂

  9. Barbara

    While we are mexicans living in the caribbean, my housband always tries to bring mexican food that he prepares in his work, we really miss our food, so, eat that is like his way to start relaxing in home after a hard Day.
    Now caribbean people is starting to love mexican food hahaha.

    • Jennifer

      Sounds good! And what’s not to love about Mexican food???? We LOVE it!!

  10. Grace

    Cheese and bread!! His favorite!

  11. Samantha

    Hello! I’m new here but I already have 4 years of suffering of the diseases “in love with a cook”! I totally agree with everything you said. It is difficult but love and support from both sides makes it work.
    By the way, ham and cheese toast! Every Night when he’s out of the hotel he calls me and say “babe, can you make me an ham and cheese toast, extra cheese plz”
    i will definitely follow!

    • Jennifer

      I used to get the, “Can you start a Top Ramen” call almost every night! So funny!! Glad you found me!

  12. Brittany

    Glad to know I’m not the only one! Ramen noodles with anything in the fridge(usually tomatoes & cheese with a little butter & heavy cream. Yum! I’ve worked two jobs for a little over a year now, weighing in at just about 80-100 hours depending on what events and so forth. If I don’t eat family meal, it’s a TV dinner. Blah!

      • Brittany

        Anything in the fridge! Usually at least a pad of butter and a splash of water or milk, just depending:)
        I was raised on pretty much just Italian food so when I’m off, I turn to pastas and the like. One job is pastry, other is savory so at least I get a little bit of a switch up.

  13. Melissa

    After a full day of it all I want is an extra large glass of Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. Then a good, substantial breakfast the next morning.

  14. James

    You forgot that some chefs like to eat a bottle of Jack.

    • Jennifer

      That would be a whole other post…What chefs like to drink at the end of the day!

  15. Ellie

    Meat pes or baked beans in this house lol

  16. MarkSara

    My fiancée and I work on on our food truck. We usually don’t eat until 3pm and this often consists of hot dogs from a gas station with jalapeños, fast food, and breakfast food. I agree most restaurants under season everything and execute poorly. I’m so glad for salt and pepper on the table as altering a dish can be that simple along with hot sauce. It’s nice to just be served sometimes. Best- Mark and Sara

    • Jennifer

      Hot dogs from a gas station. That actually sounds good to me right now. LOL.

      • Mark Sara

        Wow, I just read my post. A lot of typos. My college proffesor would not approve as I was or am an English major, just a really tired one!
        I love your blog, and it’s very accurate to this lifestyle.

        I just wanted to add that most people think we and our children eat really well.

        While this is true sometimes, frozen pizzas are no stranger to our kids.

        Our truck serves Italian Bistro. Although we love Italian food we taste but rarely eat it anymore. Sara bakes Foccacia every morning to be served with our entrees, and if any is leftover we’ll sometimes cut it in half and make Prosciutto and Parmesan sandwiches on the flat top with mozzarella and sweet and hot peppers.


        We also plan our vacations around where we are going to eat!

        • Jennifer

          Ha! Our kids ate 6 packs of Top Ramen last week. It seems to be their comfort food. (I hadn’t bought it in a while and they apparently were having withdrawals. Yuck!!)

  17. Joseph

    Been cooking in our family restaurant for 20 years Unless my wife makes something I can reheat it’s microwave burritos and a glass of half white half chocolate milk. Play with my son for a bit read him a story then off to bed.


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