Sure, great chefs can make the most insane stuff that mere mortals would never attempt in their kitchen. And we love them for it. But what gets our motors running late at night is not some fancy-ass culinary concoction, but rather some down-and-dirty, elbows-on-the-table chow. So we asked some top gun chefs to tell us what they like to eat at night and, more importantly, what sorts of elevated comfort food classics turn them on.
What you’ll find on the following pages is chicken reimagined—in fried chicken and wing versions. And check out what happens when street food classics like nachos and tacos get simple ingredient makeovers. Appetizer standards such as poppers, tots, nuggets and fried calamari also take on new life when a clever chef gets inspired. And while grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream don’t need tweaking to remain good, an extra pinch of creativity or a dash of whimsy can certainly make them great.