Here's What Chefs Buy At Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s has a mystique that belies its ‘Deals Deals Deals!’ price points, and for good reason. The budget-friendly chain is a source of joy for millions who feel like they’ve struck the flavor-price ratio jackpot. While many of TJ’s offerings have cultish followings, we decided to ask the experts what really sets the chain apart from its competitors. Here, eight top chefs talk about their favorite Trader Joe’s products—bookmark now, thank us later.
Chef Sam Talbot
Restaurant: Pretty Southern (opening Summer 2016)
TJ's Pick: “[I like the] buffalo jerky—it’s the best tasting around. Not many places have buffalo. It’s lean and a great protein pick me up. Almond milk is a staple in the kitchen, a great product for a great price—[perfect] for making chia breakfast pudding
Chef Angie Mar
Restaurant: The Beatrice Inn
TJ's Pick: “I love their Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil. [It’s a] great value for the money. I buy it whenever I’m stocking up for home. And for a sweet treat I am obsessed with the Australian soft chew licorice—a quick snack to have on hand in the kitchen!”
Chef Steven Satterfield
Restaurant: Miller Union
TJ's Pick: “I have to admit that I love the ‘healthy’ snacks aisle at Trader Joe's. All of their different trail mixes and such—it's kind of overwhelming how many they have. I'm not really into junk food, so I lean towards granola, trail mix, whole grain crackers, almond butter, etc.”
Chef Dakota Weiss
TJ's Pick: “There are two items I super love from Trader Joe’s—the Coconut Sticks they sell, they have such a great texture. I know that they are loaded with sugar, but who cares? It's fruit! I also really love the frozen pizza they make with mushrooms and truffles. It has a really thin crust and the truffle flavor just explodes in your mouth and makes me crazy happy!”
Chef Armand Arnal
TJ's Pick: "One product that I love to see and use in Trader Joe's is the Fleur De Sel Sea Salt from Camargue. It is a great, affordable finishing salt that can enhance any meal. It’s also nice to see some representation of my hometown in an American grocery store."
Chef Matt & Emily Hyland
Restaurants: Emily and Emmy Squared in Brooklyn
TJ's Pick: "We like snack food from Trader Joe's. Matt loves their wasabi peas. Matt's mom always has a jar of their salsa in her cabinet, and it does the trick with chips when we are catching up with her for a visit!”
Chef Neal Fraser
Chef Sang Yoon
TJ's Pick: "Pub Cheese. It’s this airy, spreadable yellow cheese you can put on pretty much anything and it’s super addicting. It’s my new favorite food to pair with champagne. I spread it on some crackers and serve it with Delamotte Brut, which has great balance. It's the ultimate drinking snack."