7 Professional Chefs on the Groceries They Always Buy at Costco
You might assume that chefs exclusively shop at boutique fromageries, butcher shops, restaurant supply stores, and farmers markets for only the finest ingredients and supplies that money can buy. And while that may be the case for some, most professional chefs are also apt to swing by regular grocery stores every now and then. And some even shop at Costco! Chefs — they’re just like us. Who knew?
Because we’re always on the lookout for the best Costco buys, we decided to ask a few chefs to wax poetic about their favorite Costco purchases. Here are a few things that are always in these chefs’ carts when they swing by America’s favorite warehouse store.
“I always go to Costco to pick up Kirkland Signature macadamia nuts because they are usually tough to find in other grocery stores and can be really expensive. Before I went to India a couple of weeks ago, I actually bought two huge bags to take to my dad because he loves them!” — Maneet Chauhan, Chopped judge and owner of Chauhan Ale & Masala House
“I love Costco’s olive oil. It’s made in Italy and is super delicious and super inexpensive. It’s really clean of impurities and it tastes really good … it makes sense for anyone who cooks for more than one person to have.” — Samin Nosrat, host and author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, as told to the Forever35 Podcast
“My favorite Costco items are their scallops, leg of lamb, and their individual hummus cups. The frozen scallops are amazing — huge, killer flavor, great texture, and you keep them in the freezer so you just pull them as needed. You would hardly know they were frozen. A great staple to keep for a quick and easy dinner. Their lamb is so tasty (at a good price) and better quality than most stores. And the hummus cups are a convenient snack that my kids really like — only second to homemade. I am a Costco super fan and could go on … ” —Amy Alarcon, Head Chef at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
“While testing recipes, I go through large quantities of certain ingredients on a weekly basis and Costco gives me the option to get them in large quantities (that are still manageable for the size of my home). I always get the blocks of Kerrygold Butter, tubs of Mountain High plain yogurt, and especially large bags of frozen berries when I need to test ingredients that are not in season.” — Nik Sharma, blogger behind A Brown Table and author of Season
“The biggest-kept secret about chefs is that a lot of us rarely cook for ourselves at home (despite our ability). I love to find healthy snacks in bulk from Costco so I can nibble on energizing foods while I work. I love the Organic Cashew Coconut Clusters that are packed with nutrient-dense pumpkin, sunflower, and chia seeds. I also love their organic bulk section. I stock up on bulk organic greens, soy milk, peanut butter, and pitted dates to make myself smoothies with. Chef life can be so hectic and unpredictable, so I try to load up on all the healthy options.” — Thumbtack Chef Niko Paranomos and Vegan Caterer at Naturally Niko
“I absolutely love Costco! I go to the location in Marina del Ray, CA, and could spend hours there looking at everything. Besides buying beer, wine, and alcohol there, like so many people do, one of my favorite things to buy is their tub of peanut butter-filled pretzels. They are so good, I eat them by the pound. For holidays, I love to buy their prime rib roast; the quality is as good as you can get in any of the world’s best restaurants. And on rare occasions whenever they have them, I buy their black tiger shrimp that are big, sweet, and delicious.” — Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated
“When I go to Costco with my family, we always get one of their rotisserie chickens. It’s not the best, but good chicken, cheap, and well-seasoned. Another thing I buy at Costco that I can’t find anywhere else is the Sweet Mesquite Seasoning (which is sold in Costco Business Centers, not in regular stores). If you make pork ribs on the barbecue in the summer, this is the thing you need! My wife even sprinkles it on a slice of baguette with butter.” — Dieter Samijn, Executive Chef at Bar Boulud
What do you always buy at Costco?