Chefs burn thousands of calories during a typical service, with one hour of cooking burning up an average of 300 calories. The kitchen is a high-pressure environment, but it’s also one that’s filled with temptations and limitless snack options.

Seven professionals dish on their snacking habits to Hospitality, covering the essential bites that get them through service. From anchovies on focaccia to beef crackers with faux bacon powder and marinated Wagyu trimmings — the snack life in restaurants is as gourmet as it gets.


Do you usually snack during service?
I don’t typically snack during service given a pace of the night. Although I will occasionally have a cheeky slice of lemon tart — someone has to have a taste test ahead of our customers, right?

How would you describe a typical service?
I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the food we plate up at Bistro Guillaume, so I do a lot of tasting throughout service. It means I don’t really feel the need to snack! I prefer to focus on staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water while we’re in action.

How do you stay fuelled?
We always have a staff meal ahead of dinner service. The team and I opt for a high carb option that will sustain us throughout the night, typically a bowl of pasta with a fresh tomato sauce with chilli and peppers.

How do you finish service?
After a long day in the kitchen, I like to sit and unwind with my team over a Pinot Noir and charcuterie board of French classics — all that feature heavily on the Bistro Guillaume menu. Once we have debriefed on the night, I tend to head straight home to bed.

How has your choice of snack changed during your career?
As my responsibilities, priorities and physical workload has shifted, so have my snack choices. When I was younger, I would often finish dinner service and then head to Chinatown to chill out and refuel on dumplings. Now I like to have a little slice of cheese on bread with a Pinot Noir.

What’s your ideal snack when you go out to eat?
I’ll always order oysters when they are on the menu — freshly shucked and simple. We are so lucky with the seasonal produce we have access to in Australia.


What is your go-to snack during service?
My favourite snack is a puff beef cracker with faux bacon powder — you can’t beat it. I usually stick with the same option because there isn’t much around.

What properties are you looking for in a snack?
I’d rather a snack with a low GI and a vegetable base such as crudités.

How often do you eat during service?
I’m pretty busy during service and would rather a good long black.

What about after service?
Strong yes. Scott [Pickett] and I are particularly fond of leftover bread dipped in
meat drippings.

Has your choice of snack evolved during your career?
As my position has evolved, my choice of snack is unlimited.

What’s your ideal snack when you go out to eat?
I love a good old croque monsieur.


Photography: Simon Shiff

Are you a snacker during service?
We have a snack and fruit station set up, and I’ll have a quick coffee and biscuit if I have the time. In the past, chips and garlic yoghurt were a go-to.

What’s your usual snack of choice?
I change it up, but will opt for something a bit healthier like carrots with lemon and salt. I also make sure I drink lots of water and have a double-shot coffee for a longer burn.

Do you eat after work?
I’m an ‘after service relax with a drink’ person — my drink of choice is Japanese whiskey.

How have your habits changed over the years?
When I was living in Bologna, I had time to explore the markets and laneways. The antipasto platters with local bread (tigelle) were a go-to after work. Even though I always go back to traditional flavours, I’m open to trying new things. I’ve been
enjoying crispy chicken skin with wasabi mayo.


What are your go-to snacks during service?
I work best when I am a little hungry, so while I try to stay away from snacking (aside from a morning banana and coffee) I taste a lot of dishes throughout the day. It’s really important to me to check the quality of our food before it’s shared with guests. Drinking a lot of water throughout service keeps me going.

Do you change up your snack options?
I keep it minimal, but I do try and mix up the dishes and sauces I’m tasting every day. I like to be across the variety of dishes we’re plating up on the pass, so these small bites tend to keep me going.

How do you get a quick energy burst?
I don’t eat a lot of sweets, but I have a secret stash of lollies for when I need a little sugar hit!

Has your choice of snack evolved during your career?
Definitely, as your career evolves, so do your habits and lifestyle choices — you become more conscious of what you eat. These days, I try and opt for healthier choices. I work long days and long nights, so the food I’m consuming has a real impact on my mood and energy levels.

What do you eat after service?
I usually have a light, healthy snack like pistachio nuts or carrot sticks with a few beers.


Photography: Josh Robenstone

Go-to service snacks?
Chicken congee with confit shallot and pickles; banh xeo and leftovers (grilled chicken, satay prawns and condiments) or egg noodles with double chicken stock and a handful of herbs.

Do you change it up or stick with the same options?
I mix it up on the daily, but generally it’s what’s easy and in front of me.

Are you after a high-enery snack or something with a longer burn?
My metabolism is very high, so I tend to snack throughout the day. I like carbs and always have a high-sugar green juice on section.

How often do you typically snack during service?
One to six snacks per service is realistic between mumbling dockets.

Are you an after-service eater?
I’m definitely a late eater and will always raid the fridge at the end of the night.

Has your snack choice evolved during your career?
This has happened a couple of times, but when I was at Tokyo Tina, I’d eat the short rib trim. I would marinate it in smoked gochujang and dip the meat in excess pickle juice. It developed into a Wagyu intercostals marinade with smoked gochujang and pickled mustard seeds.

What’s your ideal snack outside your venue?
The potato bread and stracciatella with spring onion oil at Carlton Wine Room.


What are your go-to snacks during service?
I’m usually too busy to snack, however when I do find time, my go-to snacks are nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruits. If I’m low on sugar, I will eat vegan candy (The Natural Confectionery Co. recently came out with a bag of delicious vegan jellies). I also have a mild obsession with the Asian snacks my grandmother used to give me like salted plums and haw flakes.

How would you describe a typical service?
I have a sweet tooth, so I tend to go with a high-energy option, but I do try to choose the longer-lasting nutritious stuff wherever possible.

Are you an after-service snack person?
It’s no secret working in the hospitality industry can create some bad habits, and late-night eating is one of them. It’s something I have had to learn not to do and I now actively avoid.

Has your choice of snack changed in recent years?
The longer I am in the industry, the healthier my choices become. Now it’s all about finding sustainable energy and creating healthy habits.

What’s your ideal snack when you go out to eat?
When I’m out, my ideal snack is edamame. Edamame to an Asian is like bread to an Italian!


What are your go-to service snacks?
A variation of anchovy on off-cut focaccia or lavosh crackers.

Do you mix up your snack choices?
It’s always anchovies on focaccia, but sometimes I’ll add stracciatella and olive oil or maybe ’nduja paste and caramelised onion for something a little more indulgent.

Are you a fan of eating after service?
Not particularly, I always snack during service and rarely after unless I finish early enough then I might have dinner. I snack in between sittings; I typically clean up, restock and make a bite to eat.

Has your choice of snack evolved over the years?
Absolutely. Earlier in my career, I would often eat some bread from wastage or nuts. Now I’m the boss, I can snack on what I like (says jokingly).

Main image credit: School of Wok