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Dining

What’s it like when chefs dine out? Jet Tila has the lowdown

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Wazuzu creator Jet Tila might not eat like the rest of us, but check out what he drinks …
Photo: Beverly Poppe
Jet Tila

So, what’s the hot new spot? Can I check Yelp, Thrillist or Urbanspoon? No. Chefs don’t eat like most people. We don’t chase the fads or follow the crowds. Chefs cook for a living and taste a lot. If my restaurant does 250 covers on a slow day and each cover is getting 1.5 dishes, I’m seeing almost 400 dishes going by—and tasting a ton of them. So do I want to spend my off time eating what’s popular and widely available? Hell no!

Chefs hang out with fellow food peeps, so we know what’s happening and where it’s going down. And what do we eat? Hallmarks of beloved chef grub are animal parts cooked so long that they fall apart in your mouth, offal, duck, pig, micro-regional world cuisine, something that’s a real pain in the ass to make. We want something hard to find or heirloom, and we’re willing to go off the grid chasing it. And what do we drink? Only the absolute best wine and the sh*ttiest comfort beer.

If you want to spot a table of chefs, look for off-menu dishes and visible tattoos. If you see someone with more than two dishes and drinks, he or she’s probably a chef. Or you could look at their feet. A lot of chefs are too lazy to change out of their clogs.

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