Celeb Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Sandwich Shop Orders

It's easy to see why we love our celebrity chefs. They made the intimidating look easy, they introduced us to all kinds of new ingredients and new ways to use our old favorites, and as for giving us tips and tricks on dressing up the everyday? They do that, too. And we love getting a peek behind the curtain. Take holidays: Who doesn't love finding out what our favorite celebrity chefs put on their holiday tables?

They may be the best of the best, but we love knowing that they're just like us in at least some ways — and it turns out that sandwiches are the great equalizer. Is there a better form of food? Let's talk favorites: The one with all the best meats, the guaranteed fresh bread and fresh veggies, and the way of putting everything together so that every bite's full of goodness. Celebrity chefs have enviable access to restaurants across the country, so choosing a favorite is a bit of a challenge. Many have, though, and fortunately for us, they've shared their thoughts on some of their very favorite sandwich shop orders.

Alton Brown

Alton Brown's relatability extends to his favorite sandwich shop order. Why? He hasn't been able to pick just one, and let's be honest: There are a lot of great sandwich places out there, including one Tampa, Florida shop that he visited in 2022.

Brown told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Supernatural Food & Wine was where he was served a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich that was, "The best I've had. The best ever." And that's high praise: It's a sandwich that's pretty easy to get very wrong, after all, and Brown seems to be something of a connoisseur when it comes to these all-day delights.

Also in 2022, Brown shared a photo of another breakfast sandwich to his Instagram. This one was from a restaurant in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, and Brown lauded Porcelain as having, "the best sandwich in NYC: the mortadella egg & cheese." Unfortunately, Porcelain announced they were closing in 2023, so anyone hoping to sample Brown's ideal sandwich might have to try to replicate it at home.

Matty Matheson

Matty Matheson might not be the celebrity chef who gets air time before the kids go to bed for the night, but his honest take on quite literally everything has rightfully won him scores of fans. (Who doesn't love a celebrity chef who has cupcakes on their list of must-have foods? Curious about more behind-the-scenes facts about this fan favorite? Check out the untold truth of Matty Matheson.)

What about his take on sandwiches? In a video posted to his Facebook page, Matheson sang the praises of a Canadian sandwich called the donair, and for non-Canadians, let's explain. The donair is along the lines of a doner kebab, in that it's made with shaved meat that's perfect after a few drinks. It was almost strictly a Nova Scotia specialty for a long time until it went mainstream in a big way.

And Matheson absolutely loves them. He calls them the very best sandwich option that Canada offers, and when it comes to the place to go for the best of the best? That's King of Donair, who posted a clip of Matheson's praises to their Instagram. He not only calls it the best in the nation, but added, "If you eat this? Your life will become better instantly."

Amanda Freitag

When it comes to super-relatable chefs, Amanda Freitag is also on the list. She's had her fair share of culinary disasters, and it's given her a healthy respect not only for the challenges of being a television chef, but a home chef as well. And restaurants? Freitag has been generous when it comes time to hand out the kudos, and when she sat down for a sandwich-centric chat with Bloomberg, there was one in particular that she called "one of my latest obsessions."

The sandwich at the heart of the question came from Court Street Grocers, a Brooklyn-based sandwich shop that's been holding its own in New York's tough sandwich game for more than a decade. Freitag's favorite is the Italian combo, which has all the standard favorites — including mortadella and several kinds of cheese — along with the restaurant's own spread. While she's there, she's also a fan of adding on the olive salad. It's not just good, and she calls it downright addictive.

Alex Guarnaschelli

When it comes to the celebrity chef that anyone would love to win a New York City foodie tour with, it's Alex Guarnaschelli. She's had, after all, a lifetime of experience, telling the Wall Street Journal that one of her earliest memories was a trip to the Carnegie Deli. Like any good New Yorker, that also involved a corned beef pastrami sandwich, but unlike most 8-year-olds, she was also open to a chicken liver spread. What about her favorite?

For that, she heads to Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop. This local favorite has had something of a rough run of it lately, opening in 1928, closing in 2021, and then reopening as S&P in 2022. Guarnaschelli shares her go-to order: "I go in there and have an egg sandwich at the counter. I like a place where you can sit at a counter and look. Old School."

She's also shared her love for the place in other interviews, telling The Daily Beast that it's one of her favorite places to eat in all of New York City. Considering how many delis the city boasts, that's some pretty high praise, indeed!

Andrew Zimmern

It's no secret that Andrew Zimmern has eaten some pretty strange stuff — he's built a career on being an adventurous eater. When it comes to his favorite, go-to sandwich order, it's something almost surprisingly mainstream.

Zimmern heads to the world-famous Katz's Deli, where he has joined countless people — native New Yorkers and visitors from around the world — in praising the perfection that's found stacked between two pieces of bread. Zimmern posted a photo of his towering sandwich to Instagram, along with the caption, "They start making it when I walk in the door, half and half, fatty brisket and pastrami. Beefy dreamy stuff," he added, and seriously, if there's ever any photo that you can not only smell but hear and taste, it's this one.

It's not all good news, though. In his Spilled Milk substack, he gave Katz's a shout-out among other favorite delis, and said that during World War II, his father and his uncle had been mailed salami as their from-home comfort food. Still, he noted that delis were struggling in a post-COVID world, so support your local deli! (Bonus fact? Zimmern says that he almost never orders a Reuben, because it's so hit-and-miss.)

Sunny Anderson

Even the biggest health food devotee is going to have those days when they just want to hit McD's on the way home from work, and there's nothing wrong with that. Celebrity chefs agree: Sunny Anderson even sat down to talk to Mashed about her favorite fast food places and orders. 

Anderson says that as far as her perfect sandwich goes, there are a few different go-to options that she finds herself falling back on. One has her heading to Popeyes, but there's a catch: Not all Popeyes are created equal, and she says that it's only certain cities that really do the dirty rice well. And along with that rice? It's a spicy chicken sandwich for her.

What if there's no acceptable Popeyes around? Anderson told Insider that her go-to was Dunkin', and specifically, she says she orders the bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant. And there's something really great about that. When your favorite sandwich is a niche, one-location restaurant, that limits how often you get to savor it. Dunkin'? They're everywhere!

Marcus Samuelsson

Everyone has their favorite foods that remind them of fond childhood memories, whether that's Friday night snack foods or Pop-Tarts any time of the day. It's completely understandable then that Marcus Samuelsson's favorite sandwiches are those that remind him of his childhood in Sweden. Samuelsson has said that gravlax sandwiches are among his favorite, and says that there's nothing that brings up childhood smiles quite like it.

It makes sense that his other favorite sandwiches also come from the sea. In an interview with Forbes, Samuelsson gave Art Mel's Spicy Dicy a shout-out as one of the best places to eat in Bermuda, sharing his go-to: "This is the biggest and best fried fish sandwich I have ever had. And with cheese and coleslaw and a ginger beer, it is perfection."

What about when he's in London? He spoke with Mic about his Red Rooster location in Shoreditch, and said that when he first visited, he found a bagel shop that quickly became a favorite. He cited Beigel Bake's smoked lox and cream cheese sandwiches as his order of choice, saying that the whole place reminded him of the blue-collar fish markets and restaurants of his hometown.

Heston Blumenthal

There are fancy restaurants, and then there are really fancy restaurants. Heston Blumenthal built his reputation on the fanciest of them all, and as one of the pioneers of the molecular gastronomy movement, it's easy to imagine his favorite sandwich being something exotic, weird, and ever-so-slightly confusing. Blumenthal has touted ideas of creativity in the kitchen, along with the utilization of new tools to create new experiences and new flavors ... but his favorite sandwich? It's pretty much at the opposite end of that spectrum.

When The Guardian asked him what his favorite fast food was, he answered not with a specific place in mind, but with a surprisingly generic guilty pleasure. "I love ... white bread tuna sandwiches from petrol station fridges. The soggier the bread the better, but it must have some crunchy bits inside — it needs plenty of mayo and onions. ... It's not the healthiest, but we should stop feeling guilty and forgive ourselves sometimes ... just not every day." And those might just be words to live by.

Aarón Sánchez

Aarón Sánchez famously grew up in the restaurant business, and his experiences go back a long way and in a big way: He's representing the third generation in his family that's authored cookbooks. That's a wildly impressive set of qualifications, and it also means that when it comes to choosing a favorite of any kind of food, he has a lot of options. In other words? His opinions carry some serious weight, and when it comes to sandwiches, Sánchez has made no secret of the fact that he's voting for a New Orleans staple, the po-boy.

Sánchez was on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" when he took the opportunity to give Mahony's a shout-out, echoing his statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. Specifically, he says it's the oyster and shrimp po-boy that holds a special place in his heart, and with one look at Mahony's trademark sandwiches, it's easy to understand why. Mahony's prides itself on serving up tributes to the old-school sandwiches that have been a New Orleans classic since the 19th century, and they're a must-have even into the 21st.

David Chang

It was Tasting Table that noted David Chang doesn't just like one particular sandwich, but that he likes to talk about it and share his love — a lot. Chang has talked about his go-to order on several podcasts — including Joe House's "House of Carbs" and Eater's "The Upsell" — saying that his all-time favorite is a surprisingly simple sandwich: the patty melt.

Sometimes, simple really is better, and it doesn't take dozens of ingredients to make a really delicious, make-you-happy-all-over sort of meal. That said, there is one place that he ranks above all others, and that's Cassell's. This L.A. favorite started out as a lunch counter and grew from there, and it did so by doing straightforward food really, really well. 

How well? Chang has said that he's stayed away from putting patty melts on his own menu because he knew there was no way he could do it better. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but for Chang, there's only one true patty melt.

Anthony Bourdain

Ask anyone who's worked in a kitchen, and they'll tell you that it's a unique environment. Pulling back the curtain on that environment is what made Anthony Bourdain a superstar: His "Kitchen Confidential" was an unvarnished look at the culture. Even when he was jetting off to all the corners of the globe, he told Variety that there were still some things that he absolutely found himself craving ... no matter how far from home he traveled, there was always a plan for getting back to New York.

"The first thing I get ... is a pastrami sandwich," he said. "Pastrami Queen is a really good pastrami sandwich — if not the best, among the very best. Just a good, nice mix of fat and lean. It's the real deal, served warm on fresh, sort rye bread with the right kind of mustard. Good pickles ... I get a cream soda. It's a quintessential New York Meal for me."

Bourdain gave Pastrami Queen a shout-out in an AMA Reddit thread, too, and added another choice. He swore by a sandwich from the Ace Hotel that he described as a "crispy thin Sardinian style flat bread smeared with butter, chilis, and Bottarga, which is like salted tuna or mullet eggs. Doesn't sound so good but man it's good, especially with a cold beer."

Giada De Laurentiis

The best traditions are the ones that keep going for years, and according to Giada De Laurentiis, there's a very specific Italian sandwich at the heart of one of her most beloved traditions. On her blog, Giadzy, she wrote, "Pizza bianca with mortadella has had a place in my heart since I was a kid. I used to eat it for lunch in Italy almost daily, and the tradition still stands when I touch down in Rome to visit my mother." So, what exactly is pizza bianca?

De Laurentiis says that it's basically a cheese- and sauce-free pizza on thin, crispy bread. She's such a fan that she even took to TikTok to sing the praises of this Italian favorite, holding up a sandwich and explaining: "This is home." Not only is it a delicious sandwich, but it's perfect to eat while strolling the streets of Rome. Didn't think it could get any better? Add in the fact that it's served throughout the day, and ... maybe it just did.

Buddy Valastro

Will it surprise anyone that Buddy Valastro's favorite sandwich comes from New Jersey? Nope — but it's safe to say that most people will agree that it's an honor that's well-deserved. Valastro gave fans a look at the sandwich on an episode of "All-Star Best Thing I Ever Ate," describing the roast beef and mutz from Fiore's as "the most incredible sandwich you can eat." Valastro also shared that he was very close to the deli owners: His family's bakery was next door.

The secret? Fiore's makes their mozzarella — or "mootz" — fresh daily. Add in top-notch roast beef, a few secret ingredients, and then fast-forward to thin-sliced roast beef, creamy cheese, and gravy, all held together by the perfect Italian sub roll.

Valastro isn't the only one to love these sandwiches, either. Food writer Josh Ozersky described the cheese as creating the sensation of "a dead man remembering life," and it even got a shout-out in "30 Rock." When New Yorkers laud a New Jersey deli, you know it's seriously good stuff.

Michael Symon

It's entirely possible to argue that when a sandwich only has a few ingredients, it's even more difficult to get right — and that's what makes Michael Symon's favorite sandwich that much more impressive. In a Facebook post, he put forward an opinion that got a ton of support from those in the know: "The NY bodega egg and cheese on a roll has no competition it is without a doubt in a league of its own ..."

A quick scroll through the comments revealed countless people who were ready to jump in and defend against any naysayers, pointing out that New York City's iconic rolls are the sort of thing that just can't be replicated anywhere else in the country. That's enough to make them a favorite right there, but that's not the only NYC sandwich that Symon has name-checked.

He's also mentioned a very classic sandwich in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, "Pastrami on rye with mustard at Katz Deli is one of the worlds (sic) greatest sandwiches with some sour pickles and tomatoes on the side ... not much I would rather have for lunch." Predictable? Maybe, but some things are just that popular for a reason.

Jeff Mauro

Jeff Mauro posted on Facebook that yes, he has a favorite sandwich: The 2nd Ave Deli's pastrami sandwich. It's simple, straightforward, and according to Mauro, perfect with extra-crispy fries and a Diet Coke.

The Illinois native is also pretty loyal to Chicago, and when the BBC asked him for some recommendations, he clarified just what it was that made Chicago so good at creating what he felt were some of the best sandwiches in the country. Simply put, it was simplicity. That said, who did he name-check?

Mauro said that for Chicago's famous Italian beef, he opted to go right to the Village Tap. That covers traditional, but what about the most unique? For that, it's 3LP's Honey G Chicago Hot Chicken Sandwich, and with a name like that, it really doesn't need an explanation, does it? Perhaps surprisingly, he also has a favorite vegetarian option that's found at Conte Di Savoia. Mauro describes a sandwich that's loaded with made-fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes, which 100% sounds like a sandwich that you don't need to be vegetarian to enjoy.