The One Ingredient Jeff Mauro Considers His Achilles' Heel

They don't call Jeff Mauro the Sandwich King for nothing. The Food Network star has transformed dozens of dishes into a handheld, even chicken noodle soup, and is always up for the challenge of figuring out how to put any ingredient in between two slices of bread. Well, any ingredient except for cottage cheese, which Mauro once confessed was his "Achilles' heel" ingredient.

"I've never consumed it, and if I have any control, I'll keep it that way," he said. "Therefore, I wouldn't feel comfortable preparing it," he added. The chef wouldn't even break his no-cottage cheese rule for an episode of "Chopped," admitting that he would "throw in the towel" if he was presented with it in his mystery basket. 

That's some serious dedication to cottage cheese hating, but how did Mauro's deep disdain even start? His brother, Frank, may be to blame for the curdled milk product taking the number one slot on "The Kitchen" co-host's "personal no-no list." "He used to chase me around the house with a near-empty bowl of it. Just the sight of those few remaining curds in the bowl would send me screaming into the bathroom, where I would frantically lock myself in," he recalled.

Is Jeff Mauro still living a cottage cheese-free life?

Given that Jeff Mauro's cottage cheese admission was over a decade ago, you may be curious if he's actually stayed true to his promises that he would never have the protein-packed ingredient on his plate or work with it in the kitchen – especially since TikTok can't seem to get enough of it. Since dozens of recipes use cottage cheese as a secret ingredient, we, unfortunately, can't definitively say that Mauro has lived his whole life without ingesting the stuff. However, a search for "cottage cheese" in his catalog of 776 Food Network recipes yields zero results, leading us to believe that, to this day, the chef still trusts his intuition and chooses to stay away from his Achilles' heel ingredient when preparing meals.

Of course, just because the "Next Food Network Star" winner stays away from cottage cheese, that doesn't mean you have to. One of the simplest ways to incorporate it into your diet is by throwing a scoop into a bowl and mixing in your favorite fruits, such as peaches or pineapples. But say you're not a fan of its texture: In that case, you may be happy to know that cottage cheese blends up very easily and can be used in things like sauces and dressings (including the internet's favorite cottage cheese ranch), and even ice cream.