Top Chef Kwame Onwuachi's Favorite Easy Meal Is So Relatable

Chef Kwame Onwuachi is always surprising us with unexpected combinations and revelations. He's declared that he follows his cravings (via GQ) when it comes to meals, and we'd love to come along for the ride, given that his eclectic palate includes so much variety. Onwuachi's expertise has been informed by his professional training and experiences in his own restaurants (The Shaw Bijou and Kith/Kin) and those of others (Per Se, Eleven Madison Park) — and his memorable appearance on "Top Chef" in 2015 (per Yahoo Life). He's received many accolades as a promising young chef, including awards from Food & Wine, Esquire, and the James Beard Foundation.

His knowledge of world cuisines is impressive: Growing up in the South Bronx, he was exposed to a culinary melting pot (via Food & Wine) and he's worked in kitchens for years. Onwuachi first started cooking alongside his caterer mother, Jewel Robinson, when he was five years old. Her business specialized in food from her home in Louisiana, especially the Creole and Caribbean flavors she prepared regularly for her son (making gumbo is still an important ritual for Onwuachi, per Food & Wine). When Robinson got concerned about Kwame's behavior, she sent him to live with his father's family in Nigeria to teach him greater respect, an approach that seems to have worked (per the Washington Post). While there, Onwuachi gained further appreciation for both West African food and the process of cultivating and producing it (via the Wall Street Journal).

A single-serving microwave dinner

Once back in the U.S., Kwame Onwuachi finished high school, tried out college for a year before getting kicked out, and after spending some time catering in Baton Rouge (per the Washington Post), eventually settled on a food career, enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). But when Onwuachi started at the CIA, he found that his focus shifted completely to traditional skills and cuisines; the food that he cooked professionally and the food he most enjoyed personally were totally different.

That's something Onwuachi has set out to change, by integrating and elevating the cuisines he knew in his youth as a chef and restaurateur. Before he was famous, he was a regular kid, growing up with a single mother in the South Bronx, ordering Chinese takeout on the regular and enjoying snacks that came in prepackaged bags like the rest of us. While his palate has cooking chops have grown, he still appreciates the everyday food he was raised on. One of his favorites is Chinese takeout wings and pork fried rice (per GQ). And his favorite easy homemade meal? Microwave popcorn (per Michelin Guide). Simple, fast, and environmentally friendly, it ticks all the boxes. (In case you're wondering, his go-to brand is Costco).

It's refreshing to see a chef who enjoys such a range of foods and that an appreciation for high-brow cuisine doesn't exclude genuine low-brow pleasures. Don't be fooled by the stars that he's got; he's still Kwame from the Bronx.