Chefs, as a rule, don't get out much.
For starters, their work hours don't allow it. And when your job is to fire and expedite other people's dinners, it can be hard to see eating out as entertainment.
But when they're off the clock, local cooks' tastes run to the decadent — linguine with clams, perfectly cut sashimi — as often as they do the simple, like pizza and burgers.
For this first of many food-centric photo galleries, I asked several restaurant staffers what they most often go for when someone else is behind the burner.
Their answers may surprise you. They often surprised me.
— Lindsay Christians
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Alberto Lozada, owner of El Bollilo – “Tacos al pastor at Los Gemelos. I like to try (the pastor) every time I go to a new restaurant.”
John Zhang, server at Ichiban — “If I go to a sushi restaurant, I like sashimi, salmon sashimi. At RED Sushi … they have a volcano roll.”
Scott Roe, chef at Quivey’s Grove — “I’m kind of a sucker for a bar burger myself. I like the casual — with what I’m cooking every day, it’s nice to do something different. New Glarus Sportsman’s does a good burger, and in the Madison area it’s Tony Frank’s. It’s just a nice tucked away place for a great bar burger.”
Craig Doyer, head cook at Village Green — “I like to get David's Jamaican Cuisine’s jerk pork, slow cooked pork with jerk seasonings, with beans and rice on the side and a warm cabbage salad-y slaw.”
Pete Kelly, chef de cuisine at Graze — “I like the Italian beef from the food cart FIBS. It reminds me of home — I’m from Chicago.”
Brian Stolarik, owner and head cook at Cottage Café – “Chicken ranch pizza at Spartan Pizza in McFarland. It’s becoming one of our favorites.”
Anna Alberici, owner of Greenbush Bar — “I absolutely love the fish fry at Jacs. They do fried cod and the whole meal is really delicious — frites, slaw, applesauce. It’s the best fish fry in town as far as I’m concerned.”
Jason Jindra, chef at New Glarus Hotel Restaurant — “Biscuits and gravy is my favorite meal. We have a small town diner here, the Town Edge. I love theirs; it’s the best I’ve ever had — a big plate of gravy with nice fresh biscuits, nice and fluffy.”