6 Top Food TV Stars Dish on What They're Eating, Cooking and Watching
David Chang, Roy Choi, Jon Favreau, Padma Lakshmi, Samin Nosrat and Gordon Ramsay reveal the last dish that inspired them to cook, their biggest on-camera disasters and more.
When The Hollywood Reporter recently assembled culinary TV heavyweights David Chang (Ugly Delicious), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Samin Nosrat (Salt Fat Acid Heat) Gordon Ramsay (everything!) Roy Choi (Broken Bread) and Jon Favreau (The Chef Show), there were no shortage of opinions.
From what's missing in food media right now and what other series are inspiring them to get into the kitchen to their biggest TV embarrassments and best bites of 2019, here's some of what they were dishing on:
The Best Thing I've Eaten This Year...
David Chang: "There was a sardine roll at this sushi bar in Japan that was so much better than it should have been. It’s always the things you don’t expect."
Roy Choi: "Probably at Bavette’s, the steakhouse in Las Vegas. As chefs, we envy others, and the way Brendan Sodikoff can execute the classics is pretty amazing."
Jon Favreau: "The whole-plate short rib at [Chang’s] Majordomo is pretty awesome."
Padma Lakshmi: "I think Lotus of Siam is probably one of the the best, if not the best, Thai restaurant in the country right now. I recently traveled to Las Vegas, and everything there — the food, wine and service — was impeccable.
Samin Nosrat: "I was at a dinner at my favorite restaurant, Margo Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen in London. I thought the meal was done when they brought out these hot, fluffy madeleines. I’d only ever had madeleines in plastic wrap from Starbucks. They were magical! I got my Proust moment."
Gordon Ramsay: "Diving in Hawaii, I had these incredible sea urchins that we found in the water. Just opened them up and ate them. Nothing ever in transit."
My Biggest On-Camera Disaster...
Chang: "Trying to make dumplings with tapioca powder, not flour. I was mortified. It turned it into glue. I maintain that it was sabotage."
Choi: "Oof, that stale box of beignet mix in the first episode of Chef Show."
Favreau (chiming in): “That was my bad.”
Nosrat: "I cannot tell you how much shade I have gotten from every Iranian in the world that I ruined tahdig [crispy Persian rice] on Salt Fat Acid Heat."
Ramsay: "Making chicken curry on live TV, not noticing that the burner wasn’t on. When I fed the guests, they only pretended to eat it. I had no idea it was raw. Don’t let anyone check on the stuff but yourself."
The Last Dish on TV That Inspired Me to Cook ...
Chang: "It was Samin. When she made pesto, I had to make pesto. I hadn’t in years. It can be so good when you do it right."
Choi: "Sean Brock’s episode of Chef’s Table made me feel like I was next to a fire for the whole fucking episode. I started cooking with wood a lot more.”
Favreau: "It’s all Roy. I just keep cooking his food because my kids see it on the show and want to try it."
Lakshmi: "I don’t watch much food TV. But I loved watching Samin make tahdig with her mother in Salt Fat Acid Heat."
Nosrat: “I’m on a journey to conquer a really delicious, not-too-complicated, perfect homemade yellow cake — like the trashy box mix — so I sought out Molly Yeh’s episode [of Girl Meets Farm] on cake.
Ramsay: "On set, in New Zealand, I watched our chef make this goat curry for the entire crew. I studied everything she did. … I sent the recipe back to London, modified it, and we’ve got it on the menu with mutton."
What I want to see more of on TV ...
Chang: "In Asia, the food is good in places it shouldn’t be — basements, subway stations, top floors of shopping malls. That’s where it’s going to start happening here."
Choi: "More mothers! Women who have raised generations; women who can cook just as proficiently as a banquet chef for The Ritz-Carlton."
Lakshmi: "I want to see more people get down and dirty with fermentation. There are so many fermentation practices happening in various cuisines."
Nosrat: "There’s a lot of upscaleification of foods from around the world. I want to see people making their own food, getting credited and paid for it."
Ramsay: "Brain foods. Doctors are using things like turmeric and ginger to help stimulate the brain and try to delay Alzheimer’s."
A version of this story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.