Chefs Reveal What’s Inside Their Fridges

Local chefs discuss what they whip up at home after a day of cooking for the public and share a few recipes.

click to enlarge Chef Kyle Roberts turns instant ramen into a fancy meal. - Photo: Jesse Fox
Photo: Jesse Fox
Chef Kyle Roberts turns instant ramen into a fancy meal.

We’ve all stood in front of the fridge attempting to coax a meal from the meager offerings at hand. It may be comforting to know that our local chefs are often in the same boat, keeping the fancy fixings back at the restaurant to serve to their customers.

We thought it might be fun to ask them what they typically keep at home and what kind of meals they concoct for themselves after cooking for the public. The clear-cut winner for creativity goes to “Fancy Instant Ramen” from Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar chef Kyle Roberts, who thankfully shared his recipe with us.

So we asked, “What’s in your fridge?”

Nick Marckwald, owner, Hen of the Woods: “Eggs, cheese, whole chickens, yogurt, salumis, all sorts of pickles and condiments, Hartzler whole milk, fruit, beer, vermouth, fresh orange juice, my wife’s paint rollers.”

Lee Moeller, sous chef, Moerlein Lager House: “One pound of Brussels sprouts, four white peaches, one pound of plums, one watermelon, two pints of strawberries, two pounds of unsalted butter, three pounds of red beets, one pound of fingerling potatoes and one quart of mayonnaise. My go-to after-work food is a sandwich of Applegate farm’s chicken breast on whole wheat bread with habañero cheese, banana peppers, horseradish cheese, lettuce and tomato.” 

Jared Beckman, executive chef, Taste of Belgium: “We always have a lot of fruits and vegetables on hand to snack on that we also feed to our various pets — rats, turtles, bearded dragons.”

Jessica Bechtel, pastry chef, Happy Chicks Bakery: “Almond milk, crunchy peanut butter, celery, pickles or sauerkraut, Sriracha, beans. If I have my act together, veggies for a meal-sized salad or for a quick sauté.” 

Jason Louda, chef, Meatball Kitchen: “My current obsession is scrambled-egg-and-pork-rind tacos with kimchi.”

Debbie Gannaway, chef/owner, Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen: “My fridge has lots of deli containers half full of salads from my store, but what I tend to have for dinner after a long day is peanut butter and peach jam on good bread with a glass of ice cold milk. It’s like dinner and dessert.” 

Baron Shirley, chef/owner, Inspirado: “Always eggs, milk and cheese. Outside of that, I try to keep a nice pantry of dry goods, pasta — I love rice — couscous. I like to be able to hit the market, grab a couple items and make a dish my family can eat on for a couple days since I don’t get to cook at home much. Also, I love Spam.” 

Jimmy Hanser, chef, Red Roost Tavern: “I always keep lots of veggies, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, ’shrooms of any kind, prosecco, salami, ice cream and a large jar of bacon fat.”

Josh Campbell, chef/owner, Django Western Taco: “Beer, wine and milk. We grocery shop when we cook.” 

Laurel Ellie Meadows, head commissary chef, Sleepy Bee Café: “Tons of pickled things in random unlabeled jars, heavy cream, butter and maybe some really old bologna.” 

Mike Florea, chef/owner, Maribelle’s eat + drink: “I usually have an abundance of Skyline leftovers. We use the restaurant as our fridge, so if we do cook, we only bring home what we need.”

Chef Kyle Roberts’ Fancy Instant Ramen

Ingredients:

1 package instant ramen (chicken or pork) cooked in 1 part stock or broth and 2 parts water according to the package 

½ cup Napa cabbage, rough chopped

Jalapeño, thinly sliced

2 scallions (white and green parts)

1 tbs. cilantro, rough chopped

1 soft-poached egg 

2 sheets of seasoned seaweed (nori) 

3/4 cup braised pork 

Instructions: Place cooked noodles and broth in a bowl. Add cabbage, scallions, jalapeño, soft-poached egg, nori and pork. Finish with a little fish sauce and more soy if needed. Add Sriracha if you like spicy. 

Chef Kyle Roberts’ Braised Pork

Ingredients:

3-4lbs of Western-style pork ribs, bone in. (I prefer this over Country style)

4 quarts chicken stock or broth

1 stalk of lemongrass 

1 thumb-size piece of ginger cut in half (doesn't need to be peeled, just watch for price stickers)

1 bunch of scallions, rough chopped

8-10 Thai chiles (optional)

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. red or green curry paste (I just get the stuff from Kroger)

Instructions: Season the ribs with salt on all sides and sear in a Dutch oven. Add the stock, lemongrass, ginger, scallions, chiles, soy sauce and curry paste. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is falling off the bone, approximately 90 minutes to two hours. Remove the meat from the ribs, and strain the braising liquid. Return the meat to the braising liquid and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, or however wet you would like it.

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