Photo courtesy of Lucky Bird

What L.A. Chefs Won’t Eat

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We asked a number of chefs to name the foods they just can’t stomach.

Just as we all have our favorite foods, we also have foods we absolutely refuse to eat. Chefs are no exception to this truism. The late Anthony Bourdain wrote of his distaste for hollandaise sauce, while anyone who’s been to Father’s Office knows that chef Sang Yoon can’t stand tomato-based ketchup.

So we asked six local chefs about their least favorite foods and why they won’t eat them.

Photo courtesy of American Gonzo Food Corporation


Culinary Director at Superba Food + Bread and Superba Snacks + Coffee

What food do you refuse to eat?

White chocolate.

What don’t you like about it?

First time I ate white chocolate, I was a kid. My mom and grandmother used to make candy and chocolates with us, and white chocolate was always the one I wouldn’t eat. Always reminded of eating vanilla-flavored suntan lotion.

When and how did you last try it?

Last time I had it was last year. We used a white chocolate Chantilly cream in one of our deserts. Maybe the best I’ve had, but in my world, there is no good use for it. I have always thought, “Why eat white chocolate when you can eat actual chocolate?”

Photo courtesy of Olio


Chef/Owner at Olio Wood-Fired Pizzeria

What item do you refuse to eat?


What don’t you like about them?

It’s not bread.

When and how did you first try it?

It’s hard to escape biscuits. I was probably first introduced to Pillsbury biscuits in a tube as a kid, and since then I’ve searched for a great biscuit I would love. I’ve had many throughout the South to see how good they can be. Even when what I’m told I’m eating is an incredible biscuit, I would rather pass.

How long ago did you last try it and how was it prepared?

Tried one in Nashville about two weeks ago with red-eye gravy. It was probably good, but not something that has converted me to a biscuit eater. I’m still searching for one that makes me want a second helping.

Photo courtesy of Alliance Hospitality Group


Executive Chef at Mora Italiano

What item do you refuse to eat?


What don’t you like about it?

When I was younger, my older sister, whom I idolized, came home one day and said she wasn’t going to eat ketchup anymore. And because I looked up to her, I also said I was no longer going to eat ketchup. Three days later, my sister came back and told me I was such a brat for copying everything that she did. With all the dignity a 7-year-old could muster, I told her that I still hated ketchup and I was never going to eat it again. So even today, I will not eat ketchup. Part of it is out of spite for my sister, but the other part is because I don’t like how sugary it is.

Had you tried it before?

I used to love eating ketchup with French fries and grew up eating it.

When did you last try it?

I honestly don’t remember the last time I ate ketchup. It might have been in this dish called “omurice.” It’s a giant egg omelet with fried rice stuffed inside of it. But instead of being plain fried rice, you would cook the rice with ketchup and the ketchup would act as a sauce.

Photo courtesy of Proper Hospitality


Executive Chef at H Café and Viviane at Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, Chef/Owner at Poppy + Rose, Owner of Root of All Food

What food do you not eat?

My biggest non-favorite thing to eat is tuna noodle casserole. I was forced to eat it as a kid, and I’ve never had a tuna noodle casserole that I liked. There’s something about the canned tuna that creeps me out. It’s penne noodles, canned tuna fish, celery, onions, cheese and some weird creamy white sauce. It was my childhood nightmare.

How young were you when you first had it?

I was forced to eat it up until I left my parents’ house, so there was a good 10 years where they’d make it once a week.

Did the dish evolve over that decade?

It got a little bit better, or I just put hot sauce on it more, I guess?

Photo courtesy of Lucky Bird


Chef/Owner at Lucky Bird

What food won’t you eat?

Natto beans, apple cider vinegar and grilled chicken breast.

What don’t you like about all of those things?

The smell of natto beans is overpowering and the texture is stringy, slimy and just awful. Apple cider vinegar smell and taste are just off-putting. As for chicken breast, a lot of times when you order a chicken breast on a menu, it’s grilled and used as a protein option for salads.  For the most part, the breast is always overcooked and dry, not to mention under-seasoned, so you are left with a dry, rubbery and tasteless piece of meat.

When did you first try those things?

I can’t remember exactly when I first had natto beans, but I know it was in a sushi restaurant about 10 years ago. It was offered as a side dish, and that was the only time I ever had them. Never again for me. My wife gave me apple cider vinegar as a homeopathic, wellness tonic when I was sick a few years ago. It made me feel worse. The tonic included apple cider vinegar, lemon and oil of oregano. Never again.

When did you last have chicken breast?

Maybe two to three years ago at a small restaurant for lunch, where the choice to add chicken breast to a salad was an option. Being on a health kick at the time, it seemed like a good alternative for not adding a lot of calories and gaining some protein. I try and stay away from these options now, however, because they always seem to disappoint me.

Chef Adam Sobel
Photo courtesy of Cal Mare


Chef at Cal Mare

What food won’t you eat?

I absolutely cannot eat deviled eggs. Even if you gave me a thousand dollars, I wouldn’t touch them!

What don’t you like about them?

Texture, smell, the look of it. Everything. Most people love them. I’ll cook with hard-cooked eggs in some of my dishes, but the idea of an egg salad sandwich — there’s nothing worse in the world to me. Absolute horror!

When did you first try them?

I was probably 5 years old. It was Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house. It was a horrible experience.

And the most recent time?

Recently, I had to eat one at a restaurant that was doing a tasting, and they sent out some deviled eggs as a canape with black truffles on top. I looked at the server and said, “I am truly sorry, but I cannot eat this. I really can’t.” But the entire table made me bite into it. Even then, I couldn’t stomach it.

Los Angeleno