Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli cut her culinary teeth in Paris in the 1990s, took control of the kitchen at Manhattan’s prestigious Butter Restaurant in 2003, and nabbed the title of Iron Chef in 2012. Her accolades are far from simple, but sometimes even the best of us need to sit back and indulge in the uncomplicated, the childlike, and—dare we say—even the guilty-inducing. These are what Guarnaschelli calls her favorite versions of “personal serendipity.”
1. Plucking a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie off the tray before it’s had time to cool, and washing it down with a cold glass of milk. “I love the combination of dark chocolate with a sprinkle of salt and sugar,” she says. “I love the smell of butter in the cookie. There is also great comfort in something my mom made me as a kid that I enjoy solo or with my daughter!”
2. Sipping a glass of iced tea (with ice tea ice cubes!) and noshing on a giant cheesy
burrito while relaxing by an infinity pool. “Heaven on Earth,” says Guarnaschelli.
3. Sneaking a bowl of homemade pasta carbonara after midnight. “What is better than some bacon and cream pasta after hours?” asks Guarnaschelli. “Sometimes after a long day, I pretend it’s a very, very early breakfast instead of a late night dinner.”
4. Taking an old-school thermos filled with white wine sangria to the beach. She says: “It’s the one time I don’t mind when there is sand in my cup!”
5. Vanilla cake with boiled marshmallow frosting, served at room temperature. “Eaten by the spoonful,” says Guarnaschelli.
6. Biting into a giant wedge of watermelon sprinkled with smoked salt. “There is
little more refreshing than watermelon,”she says. “I love when the sweet juice bumps into the crunchy sea salt. It makes me want to keep eating!”
7. A bowl of boiling hot pork “soup” dumplings.
8. Chicken vindaloo with basmati rice and lassi. “The tang of the yogurt and mango that comprise a lassi drink is mouth-watering,” says Guarnaschelli. “With a bite of the floral, buttery rice and the spices on the chicken, it cools and refreshes the palate.”
9. Eating the whole cheesy, broiled top off a lasagna, she says, “and then re-cheesing it and broiling it again to cover my tracks!”
10. Enjoying a great American staple—with a deliciously sinful twist, says Guarnaschelli: “A deep fried hot dog with bits of crispy bacon, spicy mustard and sauerkraut.”