We’re only a handful of episodes into Season 17 of Top Chef: All-Stars L.A., and we’ve already seen a slew of celebrity cameos, from Kelly Clarkson to Ali Wong and Randall Park. But it isn’t the celebs that have us tuning in week after week; it’s the all-star, fan-favorite cheftestants, including Season 6’s Bryan Voltaggio, Season 12’s Melissa King, Season 16’s Nini Nguyen, and Boston-based Season 11 New Orleans frontrunner, Stephanie Cmar.
“Is she touching me? Omg she’s touching me!” I’m doing my best to stay positive and this post brings me joy. The people and things I tagged are the ones that keep me being ok + the people not tagged, but it’s getting cluttered. Keep your head up🌈
A post shared by stephaniecmar (@stephaniecmar) on Apr 8, 2020 at 1:36pm PDT
Cmar, a personal chef for several families, was booted from Season 11 after a technicality but was invited back to the show six seasons later, alongside fellow Boston chef Karen Akunowicz.
Cmar also recently launched her Instagram video tutorial series, “My Shitty Little Kitchen” — “a weekly cooking show proving that, with a little willpower, you, too, can cook just about anything!” The most recent episode? It’s all about biscuits.
“My mom was like, ‘Don’t put a swear word in your show,'” Cmar says with a laugh. “It’s like four electric tops, [and] a very small oven. We have no appliances.”
Cmar may have no appliances (save for one espresso machine), but we learned she sure has a lot packed into her fridge.
Without further ado, let’s take a look inside ‘Top Chef’ star Stephanie Cmar’s fridge, pantry, and more.
SheKnows: Tell us a little bit about what’s in your fridge.
Stephanie Cmar: “Chicken stock, pulled chicken, garlic, raspberries, bacon. David has some Budweisers. Eggs, pickles, and Greek yogurt. David and I made the chicken stock because we wanted to make congee for dinner.”
SK: We’re living in weird times, but what would your fridge typically look like?
SC: “As a private chef, it’s literally full all day because I cook for people. I taste all the food. I get home and make dinners. So, we never had food in the fridge — ever, ever, ever. We had, like, deli turkey.
“In quarantine, I never cooked for myself, and now, all of a sudden, I’m living up to my most potential because I actually have cravings.”
SK: How has the pandemic impacted you as a private chef?
SC: “It’s very weird. Because we’re like a luxury item, families don’t necessarily need us. They feel like they do, but we’re disposable, and because I’m self-employed, it’s not the same.
Fortunately, I’m very cheap and very frugal and saved enough money to kind of get through however many months this takes. But, I feel like all of my other private chef friends — my husband’s also a private chef — we’re kind of in a weird place where it’s, like, are we ever going to be able to go back in these people’s homes? That’s definitely a very interesting feeling. I super love what I do, which is a blessing.”
SK: What does a typical breakfast look like for you?
SC: “I’ve been intermittent fasting because I have nothing to do. [Laughs]
“My best friend Kristen [Kish] got me on it. I always want to be like her. She’s like a big sister to me. I like the challenge, but … it’s awful. [Laughs]
SK: How long have you been doing it?
SC: “Three days. [Laughs]
“So, I haven’t been eating breakfast; but by 2 o’clock when I do eat, I’ve been eating pita chips, Greek yogurt, and then I made a salad of tomato roasted eggplant, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, and rice wine vinegar.”
SK: What was your most memorable meal?
SC: “My husband and I, when we were boyfriend and girlfriend, I don’t even know if we were that, but we were living together. We had, like, four roommates, and he over-brined the chicken and roasted potatoes under it with onions and garlic.
And honestly, it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. And I think it was, to be honest, one of the first truly home-cooked meals.”
SK: Do you have any controversial food opinions (for example: avocados are trash, cilantro tastes like soap)?
SC: “Walnuts taste like mouth-numbing disgustingness. This and snails are, like, I can’t even think about a snail.”
SK: What’s the one ingredient you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
SC: “Beef. Personally, I don’t love the texture of steak, and it’s been a lifelong thing.”
SK: What’s in your freezer?
SC: “Our freezer is a hot mess: popsicles, butter, and then a bunch of soups because my husband and I can’t figure out how to cook for two. So, we have, like, gallons of bagged soups.”
SK: What’s the strangest ingredient we would find in your cabinets or pantry?
SK: What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
SC: “I don’t know what they’re called. I wish I could look it up right now. They were like baby squid that when you bit through it, it popped — and there was stuff in it.
“We called it squirting squid when we ate it at a place in Boston for my birthday, like three years ago. And it was a big bite.”
SK: What is your one favorite appliance in the kitchen?
SC: “There’s literally only the espresso machine. That’s the only thing that fits on the counter.”
SK: What’s your go-to meal when you only have 20 minutes to cook?
SC: “Tomato soup. Barbara Lynch’s tomato soup to be specific. I worked for her for a long time. It’s like a blender meal.”
SK: Is there anything else you want to add?
SC: “I hope that people who are wondering what the chefs cook know that our pantry is not much different than yours.
We’re working with the same things, and I hope people just are falling in love with cooking since we can’t leave the house.”
Top Chef airs Thursdays at 10/9c on Bravo.
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