We all have our preferences. Even for those of us with easygoing palates or ultra- adventurous appetites, there's usually something that'll make each of us pause and say, "Ew... gross!" to something on grocery store shelves or dinner menus in unfamiliar eateries. However, in our imaginations, we always seem to hold our culinary idols in the highest esteem, never thinking that Guy Fieri could have an aversion to something as simple as eggs or that Gordon Ramsay could possibly harbor a strict avoidance of pineapple pizza, unless for charitable purposes!
The personal aversions of top chefs can be understandable to a certain extent. But some of these particularities will leave you scratching your head and wondering how these professionals have gotten to where they have without the incorporation of green pepper into a single recipe (Erm, Giada!) or the exclusion of salmon from any restaurant menu they've put together in their entire careers (we're looking at you, Anne Burrell!). After finishing this quick read, you’ll be convinced famous foodies are only people, too, proving that even celebrity chefs who boast some of the most impressive and tolerant palates in the entire world all seem to have something they won’t willingly consume.
This following list reveals some of the most surprising everyday edible items famous foodies have kept out of their pantries due to their picky tastes, and quite honestly, many are ingredients that you never would've guessed. So, let’s take a tour through some of the most entertaining food aversions from our favorite top chefs on The Food Network and beyond!
20 Ree Drummond: Not Bananas for Bananas
Ree Drummond is known for her outstanding homestyle cooking and uber-popular blog, The Pioneer Woman. Always cooking up a slew of awe-inspiring recipes on her hit TV series, Drummond is a woman of many talents when it comes to the kitchen. However, there's one ingredient the southern housewife turned web celebrity gets stuck on: bananas! In a 2011 post, the blogging superstar went into full detail about her repulsion for the yellow plantain that's technically classified as a berry! It all started as a baby, and it's something she’s never been able to overcome, admits Drummond. With a hatred shared by both her brother and dad, the homespun success is adamant it must be genetic! Despite her disgust, Drummond includes one banana recipe in her entire blog: Banana’s Foster.
19 Anthony Bourdain Refused Plane Food
The irony can’t be lost on someone who made a living traveling the world and, in the process, boarding many, many planes in his unending quest to document some of the world's most unique culinary experience. The beloved Anthony Bourdain has seen his share of the good and the bad when it comes to worldly dining experiences, so who would ever guess that during all these travels, the Parts Unknown host refused to chow down on anything offered to him during in-flight service?
Pretty picky from someone who has documented proof of consuming many suspicious culinary items that the rest of us would never attempt to consume ourselves. From roasted warthog anus to raw seal eye, it seems even the King of the Palates had his limits. Talking to Bon Appetit, the No Reservations star claimed that people only eat plane food because they're bored and that he'd rather arrive at his destination hungry!
18 Geoffrey Zakarian Doesn't Do McDonald's!
Geoffrey Zakarian isn't convinced of the magic of the golden arches. We’ll agree that it's perfectly normal not to consume fast food on a regular basis, but heck, to indulge every once in a while is totally acceptable and a rite of passage in modern civilization. But to never have visited McDonald’s once is just straight-up crazy town In a recent first, executive chef Geoffrey Zakarian visited the iconic fast-food chain despite his personal apprehensions. After taking one bite of his grilled chicken wrap, Zakarian reportedly looked long and hard at the insides of his meal, then simply remarked that you could get a much better wrap at Chipotle! However, in a surprising twist, the rest of the meal (fries and a coffee) was less repugnant for the accomplished restaurateur.
17 Gordon Ramsay: Hawaiian Pizza (Pineapples)
How a fruit ended up as a pizza topping is beyond many of us living in the sane, rational world. Gordon Ramsay simply happens to be one more rational soul putting up the good fight against the horrible creation that's Hawaiian pizza (can you tell we're on his side?). On a recent appearance on The Nightly Show, the infamous food critic shared his unadulterated thoughts on the subject of the citrus fruit having a place on one of the world’s most beloved comfort foods—and it wasn’t positive. But has Ramsay ever tasted the fruit/pizza combination? The renowned chef was forced to eat his least favorite food when fans rallied together to reach Ramsay's charity goal for a local children's hospital.
“The only thing Hawaiian about this pizza is that I want to drop it in the ocean.” The chef retorted as he took a knife and fork to the ‘za fully loaded with traditional canned pineapple chunks.
16 Alton Brown Scorns Red Velvet Cake
For all the horrible menu twists the Cutthroat Kitchen host has dished out on his contestants, Alton Brown needs to get a taste of his own medicine, perhaps! In a 2015 Q&A with Eater, Alton admitted his hatred of Red Velvet Cake, a most decadent pastry item defined by its chocolate flavor and dark-red appearance with snowy white frosting. The devilish former host of Good Eats stays far away from this bakery treat, claiming he can taste the extremely high concentrations of red food coloring present in the chocolate dessert. We all knew it would be a strange thing for one of the strangest and most endearing Food Network hosts in recent history to hate.
Two things Alton can’t go a day without, though? Coffee and sardines.
15 Giada De Laurentiis: Green Pepper
Some people just don’t like their greens. Take Giada De Laurentiis, for example. The renowned Food Network personality is praised for her artistic flair with Mediterranean cuisine incorporating a beautiful assortment of fresh vegetables in all her recipes, such as her special twist on Stuffed Zucchini and Bell Peppers. So, who in the world would ever guess Laurentiis harbors a severe distaste for green bell peppers?!
The star of Giada In Italy absolutely refuses to incorporate the chlorophyll-rich vegetable in any of her recipes. Her dislike really comes down to a preference in the specific chemical stage of the pepper itself. According to CompoundChem, bell peppers go through three phases of ripening, resulting in different perceivable flavors due to the predominant chemical compounds present. It appears Laurentiis isn’t alone in the world of celebrity chefs–joining her at the table of picky pepper haters is Food Network’s Chopped judge, Aaron Sanchez.
14 Richard Blais Abhors Bugs!
Alright, we might have to give Blais a pass for a distaste that many of us most certainly share with the US top chef: bugs. Known for his many appearances on The Food Network as a guest host and judge (most memorably on Cutthroat Kitchen), Blais has been subject to many questionable creations. So, it's a tad bit surprising that the top chef harbors a queasy spot for meals of the creepy-crawly variety! Indeed, the host of the Starving For Attention podcast admits he won't voluntarily indulge in the crunchy critters–unless it’s for the job! Tolerant as ever, Blais takes the high road and won't admit a hatred for this alternative protein, however. In the spirit of competition, the restaurateur has swallowed his share of insects while judging Top Chef in Mexico.
13 Katie Lee Hates Wasabi
A key ingredient to any sushi dining experience, the light-green spicy paste known as wasabi is traditionally ground down from the wasabi root. According to SteamyKitchen, wasabi is sourced from only three secret locations across North America! The horseradish lookalike is an extremely volatile species to cultivate, and producers keep their sources secret in order to protect their incredibly rare and valuable crops.
The unique experience of having the heat of the wasabi slowly reach into one's nostrils and wash over the senses, inducing tears in some, is understandably not for everyone, including Katie Lee! The renowned cookbook author and food critic openly rants about her hatred of the root even though she admits to carrying a bottle of hot sauce in her purse at all times! The irony isn't lost on us.
12 Alex Guarnaschelli Passes on the Patty Pan Squash
Who could resist the aromatics of summer-fresh patty pan squash perfectly marinated and roasting away on the barbeque? Apparently, iron chef Alex Guarnaschelli can—and does on the regular! The executive chef at Butter says she refuses to incorporate the miniature squash into her cooking. “They’re cute, but they have no flavor,” dished the Iron Chef America competitor. The perspective seems a tad ironic coming from someone who makes a living off of transforming ingredients into delicious edible works of art. The New York-based television personality admits that at home, it's her ten-year-old daughter who prepares most of the savory cooking while Alex sticks to baking dessert!
11 Martha Stewart: Truffle Oil
Truffle oil is one of the most decadent ingredients in any chef’s pantry. Considered a staple ingredient in many Food Network show challenges, the audience is often introduced to this exotic oil whenever a chef is grasping for that perfect finishing touch to a dish. The reputation of truffle oil in the world of professional chefs is highly controversial, as it's often used to cover up for a dish that falls below par excellence. Martha Stewart belongs to the camp that absolutely refuses to incorporate the oil into her cooking, as she says that the flavor “clings to your tastebuds” all day long. Gordon Ramsay, who relates that the oil is a repugnant, ridiculous ingredient, joins Stewart on the frontlines of the war against truffle oil. The co-host of Martha & Snoops Potluck Dinner remains adamant that the synthetic oil will stay out of her recipes.
Fun fact: There are absolutely NO truffles in most truffle oils available on the market!
10 Anne Burrell Skips the Salmon
It’s okay to have a dislike of seafood, and it's even more forgivable that some cringe at the thought of a raw oyster or a side of surf clam sashimi. However, most wouldn't be as forgiving to those who abhor the delicious hearty texture and delicate flavors of salmon. Even more confusing is the idea that a professional chef such as Anne Burrell has never once included the mighty king of the river in any of her restaurant menus–in her entire career! It’s true—the US restaurateur and coach on America’s Worst Cooks won’t voluntarily consume or include the omega-3 rich fish in any of her dishes; however, that doesn't stop her from being a professional, and Burrell says she'll take a bite if it's for the job.
9 Donal Skehan Despises Black Licorice
America’s favorite pairing with popcorn, licorice has been included in the most classic movie theater menus since the dawn of time. However, for Donal Skehan, the chewy black candy has always grossed him out. However, Skehan’s confession gets even weirder: the former Streetwize boy band member professes to enjoy the taste and aromatics of fennel and anise seed, two distinct food items reminiscent of Skehan’s despised bonbon. The famed YouTube presenter says he just simply hates the flavor of the real thing. But wait–what's licorice made from? Indeed, the candy is actually made from a specific licorice plant that's a member of the legume family. In this light, Skehan’s hatred of a beloved candy turns into a hatred for a vegetable! Go figure!
8 Jeff Mauro Can't Stand Cottage Cheese
The coagulated curds that form the delicious dairy delight aren't beloved by every professional as witnessed here with Jeff Mauro’s hatred of cottage cheese. The Chopped Champions star admits he cannot even stomach the sight of the creamy curds. The soft texture and savory flavor of cottage cheese is, perhaps, an acquired taste for those not introduced at an early age, which is where Mauro most likely picked up his aversion. The Food Network personality stated in a recent interview that he grew up in a household where his brother constantly tortured him with bowls of the chunky white cheese, chasing him all over the house with a half-finished bowl of the goopy stuff! No wonder Mauro has never even tried a bite of this delicious protein-filled snack.
7 Sunny Anderson says "No Thanks" to Seafood Pepper Pot Soup
The Chopped All-Stars Round One winner got a little more than she bargained for in the entree round, where competitors were tasked with creating a masterpiece out of canned seafood pepper pot soup, venison, pierogies, and okra– yikes! However, the talented host of How’d That Get On My Plate? managed to pull it off and win Round One of the four-part series. Despite the success on air for her favorite charity, there’s one Chopped battle scar that Anderson hasn’t put to rest: her newfound aversion to the classic Caribbean stew, canned or not! After the competition, the Food Network personality says despite being an easygoing omnivore, she’ll never be caught dead with a bowl of the seafood stew ever again!
6 Simon Majumdar Can't Drink Coffee
The world runs on coffee. Even as I type, a cup sits faithfully beside my laptop, proving beyond a doubt that the caffeinated beverage has fuelled this entire article! With early morning starts and schedules that take famous chefs soaring all over the world, it's truly a wonder that Simon Majumdar has a firm moratorium on having a simple cup of joe to keep him fueled throughout his busy days as a top chef and restaurant owner. On the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show with host Alton Brown, the accomplished Iron Chef admitted both coffee and oysters will kill him–but does he mean that literally? As he hails from the lands of Britain, we suppose it’s no wonder that the traveling chef prefers his caffeine in a cup of tea.
5 Rachael Ray Is Terrified of Store-Bought Mayonnaise!
In a hilarious revelation, Rachael Ray proves to be only human during a recent interview. The daytime television host openly admitted to her intense fear of store-bought mayonnaise—you know, the kind that can sit on a grocery store shelf for months and months without spoilage (as long as that seal stays put!). In a recent episode of The Rachael Ray Show, the charismatic chef dished with a guest about her hatred of the egg-infused condiment that has been a staple in USn kitchens since... well... the modern kitchen was invented! However, we can't hate on Rachael too much for fearing the cause of many cases of food poisoning, as the 30-Minute-Meals star will gladly prepare a fresh version of the condiment—just don't ask her to include a dose of Miracle Whip in her next recipe!
4 Ina Garten Avoids Cilantro
It appears Ina Garten has found herself in the limelight for her aversion to cilantro! Traditionally used as an aromatic addition in salsas and sauces or as a garnish on street-food tacos, cilantro is loved by many and hated by more, you might argue. The raging love/hate debate over the herbaceous greens has instigated actual scientific studies into the issue. Scientists now confirm that cilantro contains a specific chemical makeup that's picked up by the highly sensitive olfactory nerves in our noses in different ways. Some individuals (about 15% of the general population) retain a specific gene that affects how they perceive the aroma of cilantro–identifying it as an unpleasant, soapy smell that's decidedly unappetizing. However, it doesn't end there. Because of the importance of our nose when it comes to taste, cilantro will actually end up tasting exactly like soap as well–gross! We feel for you, Ina!
3 Andrew Zimmern Won't Do Walnuts
A great day starts with a good, hearty breakfast of oats with a sprinkle of nuts—unless you’re Andrew Zimmern! In an ironic twist, the host of Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern absolutely detests the nutty treat! Considered by many to be a delicious addition to many recipes or simply as a snack on its own, peanuts are a no for Andrew! For a reason that remains unexplained, the accomplished drug addict turned top chef remains stubborn in his refusal to even try the crunchy nut in any form. Despite his adventurous palate and a home fridge boasting an impressive array of experimental fermenting fish sauces, the NYC restaurateur prefers to stick to the wild side and snub all the natural benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in the prehistoric powerhouse nut. Oh well... more for us!
2 Antonia Lofaso: Foie Gras
Antonia Lofaso has made her mark in the culinary world and is considered by many to be one of the most poised Food Network personalities. Her critiques as a judge on the hit series Cutthroat Kitchen have remained impeccably impartial and fair, which is why her aversion to foie gras might be explainable. Foie gras continues to be an ultra-controversial menu item due to the ethical issue of force-feeding ducks to the point where their livers become abnormally enlarged. So perhaps, Lofaso recognizes the injustice being served to involuntarily glutinous fowl and has chosen to opt out. Or maybe, just the thought of eating an oversized liver is simply unappealing. Either way, the Black Market restaurant owner has yet to indulge in the real reason behind her dislike of avian organs–touché, Lofaso!
1 Michael Solomonov Fears Egg Salad
Many of us have had the scary experience of being invited to a funeral or perhaps to our grandma’s birthday luncheon, only to realize that the only thing available to eat is a stack of highly innocuous-looking egg-salad sandwiches! Your hand pauses as you realize that the ominous-looking untouched plate has sat unrefrigerated for who-knows-how-long, positioned directly under a single beam of sunlight entering the building, inevitably hastening the conversion of something edible into something that'll have you running to the bathroom for the rest of the day. Do you eat it? If in the past you’ve had this experience, which we're prone to thinking Micheal Solomonov certainly has, then chances are, you’re going to leave hungry. However, the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef has yet to indulge his own horror story about the sordid sandwiches. We’re waiting, Michael!