12 Secret Supermarket Helpers of Valley Chefs and Restaurateurs

Categories: Chow Bella

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

Vintage supermarket ad from the 1940s.
Think chefs don't rely on a little help from the neighborhood supermarket to kick up dishes both at home and in the restaurant? Think again.

I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs their favorite secret supermarket helpers and got a shopping list of products that range from the familiar to the surprising. And because they translate so easily to dishes you'd make at home, these 12 "secrets" can be yours, too.

See also: What Is the Future of Meat?

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Bill Sandweg
Owner, Copper Star Coffee

Vegemite/Marmite. Awesome substitute to make soups and stews richer for vegetarians (versus beef broth).

Michael O'Dowd
Chef and Owner, Renegade by MOD, Wicked Six Bar & Grill by MOD

Nori seaweed. It helps with stocks, rolling sushi, and also, when ground up, in seasoning edibles. It's very versatile and has a unique flavor profile especially when toasted.

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Cullen Campbell
Chef and Owner, Crudo

I don't think many people know you can get marrow bones at Safeway. Anytime I want to do something fun at home, I get them because they have so many uses. I've turned them into vinaigrettes, smoked them, and made butter or just a roast served with bread and roasted garlic.

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Aaron May,
Chef and Restaurateur

I'm not afraid of the chip aisle. We use Cheetos in the man 'n' cheese at The Lodge and have always added some ground Funyons to our breading mix.

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Should have asked the Americas taco guy to see if he'd admit to buying his meat, bread, and chips at food city.


Love this!  Glad you added a female chef at the end!

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