As the famous proverb goes, “Tell me how many kinds of mustard you have in your refrigerator, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Or something like that. Well, ok. Maybe that’s not something people say, but that doesn’t mean it essentially isn’t true; we are what we eat, after all. And we really are what we eat at home, alone or with our families. Here, then, we peek inside the refrigerators of five cooking whizzes, to see how it is they feed themselves when no one else is watching.

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Salil Mehta
chef and owner of The Chinese Club

What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
Eggs, hot sauce, lots of cheese, milk, and yogurt
What’s your go-to late night snack?
I have a sweet tooth so any kind of chocolate; my current favorite is dark chocolate with sea salt.
Is there anything you buy and then never use?
Plenty of things, I’ll always buy different condiments and pastes that seem essential to keep but hardly use.
What’s the weirdest food combination that you totally love?
As a chef no combination is really “weird” for me but I love Malaysian Roti canai with ice cream.
What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Easy, always “butter chicken.”

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Lukas Volger
author of Bowl and Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, editor of the James Beard Award-nominated cooking magazine Jarry, founder of veggie burger line Made by Lukas

Is there anything you buy and then never use?
The problem is more that I don’t always finish everything I buy. I want to be better about using all the fresh herbs. I love eating yogurt as a condiment, but not on its own—so it’s not uncommon to lose half a container of one of those little tubs of yogurt. I’ve had to teach myself to be proactive about to cooking off a whole block of tofu, rather than just enough for one meal and then letting the rest of it linger in a tupperware of tap water until I start to smell it. These are probably just challenges of living alone.
What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
I always have eggs, some leafy greens (usually both hearty ones like chard or kale and then some tender ones for salad), an on-the-fly farmers market purchase (today, parsnips), a few cheeses, and lately—several varieties of kimchi!
What’s the weirdest food combination that you totally love?
I recently put the last few scoops of my mapo tofu inside an omelette and it was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again. Does that sound weird?
What’s your ultimate comfort food?
A big salad eaten out of a mixing bowl for just myself, enjoyed on the love seat, really feels like I’m treating myself right.
What’s your go-to late night snack?
A breakfast sandwich. I like to mash up gochujang and feta and slather that on the toast or English muffin.

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Carla Hall
The Chew co-host, chef and owner of Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen

What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
Mustard, pickles, butter, eggs, lemons
What’s your go-to late night snack?
Nuts or cheese if I crave something salty; and yogurt with fruit preserves if I am craving something sweet.
Is there anything you buy and then never use?
Specific ethnic spices that I don’t know how to use, but in my head I will experiment and learn how to use them. For instance, I have had this huge bag of special chili powder to make kimchi for at least 8 months. It’s never been opened.
What’s the weirdest food combination that you totally love?
I can eat anything pickled.  Anything.  So you could sneak some weirdness under my pickles, and I’ll probably eat it.
What’s your ultimate comfort food?
My husband Matthew’s spicy meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas AND his black pepper chicken curry.

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Chris Scott
chef and co-owner with wife Eugenie Woo of Brooklyn Commune and Butterfunk Kitchen

What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
Eggs, soda, bologna, cheese, some “fancy” French sausages, olives
Is there anything you buy and then never use?
Ice cream (although I’ll eat a couple spoonfuls), Korean banchan such as marinated octopus, and kimchi
What’s the weirdest food combination that you totally love?
I enjoy really BOLD flavors. Anything pickled, anything mustardy, anything with a heaping amount of raw onions on it.
What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Cheeseburgers. I could eat them everyday.
What’s your go-to late night snack?
Pretzels and hummus

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Jake Eberle
chef at Le Fond

What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
Eggs, parmesan, soy milk, butter, old coffee. (I like it better after it sits on its grounds in the French press overnight.)
Is there anything you buy and then never use?
Not really…you’ll see my fridge is virtually empty. I really only shop and cook at home on Mondays (the day Le Fond is closed). I only shop for that one meal and I eat those leftovers for the rest of the week.
What’s the weirdest food combination that you totally love?
Mussels with anything. I eat a ton of mussels (perhaps a result of growing up in Maine). On Wednesdays we do moules frites at the restaurant and I’ll cook them with just about anything else that needs to get used up for myself at the end of the night.  It’s mostly about the juice.
What’s your ultimate comfort food?
The falafel sandwich at Oasis on North 7th. I eat it two to three times per week.
What’s your go-to late night snack?
My girlfriend Caroline’s lunch leftovers

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