Cambridge’s Top Chefs Reveal their Guiltiest Pleasures

This month, Gerla de Boer, finds out what Cambridge’s leading chefs and foodie experts really eat…

We are all guilty of it; when nobody is watching you sneak off to the fridge or cupboard and raid the biscuit tin or tear open a big bag of crisps and chump your way through it. Or are you more the kind of Frankfurter person who eats them cold and dips them in a pot of mustard watching a box series on Netflix?

You don’t have to embarrassed about these guilty pleasures as even the self-confessed foodies nurture some ‘interesting’ cravings and I have managed to get local foodies to confess them to me! I was amazed that one of my fellow foodies in Cambridge is just as a big fan of my two favourite guilty pleasures as I am. So we’d better not get together to feast on them as we would be stacking up loads of empty jars!

So what are our local favourite foodies eating when nobody is watching? You’ll be surprised. Hold your breath!

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Confessions of The Cambridge Food Tour team

Gerla – head foodie and owner

The best hang over cure for me is either very old Gouda, big gherkins or a big rollmop! Nothing shocking of course. My really guilty pleasure is a pointed paper bag filled with thick cut chips topped with a good quality mayonnaise and peanut butter sauce. Also known in the Netherlands as ‘chips war’. No fork or knife needed.

Camilla – tour guide

One thing I always crave are Spanish croquetas. Estefania’s are my favourite (Que Rico Tapas) but I also regularly stop off at Tu Casa, The Emperor and Tabanco to get my fix. I am so obsessed with them that I’m always in search of the perfect croqueta, especially when travelling in Spain. I regularly make them at home too, particularly Morcilla & Apple or Goat’s Cheese & Spinach. You can’t beat a plate of croquetas and a glass of Txakoli. No vegetable accompaniments allowed!

Rebecca – tour guide and Tribecca Coffee

My guilty pleasure when no-one is around is Shin Ramyun spicy instant noodles, lightly salted tortilla chips and Nutella, with a spoon!

Estefania – tour guide and Que Rico Tapas

My cravings are chips with salt and vinegar, salted peanuts, Twix, Haribo and confectionery.

And what are the well-known chefs in Cambridge eating when nobody is watching?

Sam – Chef owner of restaurant 22

One of my absolute favourite foods are dumplings and noodles from Zhonghua Traditional Snacks on Norfolk Street. Always delicious and super quick, the more chilli the better for me!

Sam – Shop manager Culinaris

Wether it is a guilty pleasure or not, there are two things I would mark down as stalwart favourites of mine; skippy peanut butter is full of gunk but there is very little comparison to it on the market. The second is any variety of pickled cucumber. Mrs Elswood, traditional American pickle chips, Japanese kazusake pickles or our traditional facto pickles…they are all fantastic and I guzzle them excitedly.

Ben – Owner of Radmore Farm Shop

Honestly. I have a guilty pleasure for sweet milk chocolate.

Mark – ex-Michelin star chef and owner MJP restaurants

My naughty grub is crap microwave pizza and BBQ pork ribs and chips from Fagito on Mill Road.

Simon –  Owner of Bread and Meat

So when eating away from Bread & Meat I like to visit  our spiritual cousins at The Queens Head, Newton. Simplicity personified. Most people talk about the ’soup by colour’ but for me it’s all about brilliant (old school) beer and wine, well cooked topside of beef AND gammon on the bone served with bread and butter. To me the atmosphere on a cold day is what a British pub is all about. They even sell Walkers crisps, Kit Kats and Mars bars – I could be transported back to 1978 waiting in the car for my dad to have a few pints in a rural Norfolk pub.

Dave – Manager of the Cheese Co

When I’m not filling myself with Beaufort d’èté and Jamon Iberico Bellota, I will be smashing a bowl of spicy pork and shredded cabbage from Noodle Republic on Regent Street! Yum!

Hans – Chef owner of Cotto Restaurant

I am a pretty healthy eater, and love a simple egg on toast, but when I am weak then I go for cookies or a large slab of butter on a piece of sour dough! And I do admit it, that I sometimes have a sneaky (large) bite of mysons burger and chicken selects at a certain drive thru!

Andrew – Co-owner of Dulcedo Patisserie

When I am at home and I have the time, I mainly like to prepare and eat food from the Middle East and Far East. There are so many possibilities with the cuisine, I love the use of sweetening, pickling and fermentation. They really play with the ph meter and bring it all together.

Tristan – Chef & Owner Parkers Tavern 

For me it Parker’s Tavern poutine, it’s not a real poutine but our take on it. Spiced braised ragout of beef and pork, served on crispy french fries and covered with extra sharp cheddar and baked until the cheese is melted. It’s a complete guilty pleasure.

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