What's in your fridge?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Ever wonder what the experts pick up at the grocery store? What ingredients they keep on hand for whipping up a quick meal?

We recruited several chefs to share their best home cooking advice, shopping secrets and splurge-worthy favorite ingredients. Plus, we convinced them to let us share the contents of their fridge with the entire city.

These three fridges, which ranged from bare-bones to bursting with food for a family, had plenty of stories to share.

Derek Michael, executive chef at Due Amici

What's your home cooking philosophy?

I eat light because I'm always running around. If I eat heavy, I'll be too tired. Too much starch weighs me down.

I eat salads a lot; lot of vegetables and protein. I make smoothies a lot - yogurt, ice, a little orange juice and whatever fruit I have lying around.

I like to make more homestyle or comfort foods here, because I eat a lot more upscale, rich foods at work.

What are some of the other staples in your fridge?

I always have stuff to make late-night snacks when I get home from work - nachos, frozen pizza.

Truffle oil - I like to marinate steaks with it sometimes. I do salad dressings with lemon juice and truffle oil. I use it as a flavor enhancer in soups and risottos, but you only need a drop of the stuff because it's so strong.

And cheese. I eat gorgonzola a lot, but goat cheese is my favorite.

Do you get many cooking ideas from the restaurant, and vice-versa?

There's a lot of things I've been exposed to and gotten hooked on that I don't eat here, just because there are a lot of ingredients that you can't get in a grocery store.

Or even if you can, it's hard to keep them good. It's like a Catch-22 - I want the food, but I don't want it to go bad. It's just hard when you work 60 hours a week, but I do love it.

In your opinion, what's most worth splurging on?

Quality or organic produce. Ingredients that aren't filled with a bunch of crap. Like natural peanut butter, stuff that doesn't have high-fructose corn syrup. Just healthier ingredients, in general - that's what's worth spending the money on, for me. And organic meats.

You're off work tonight. What's for dinner?

I'm going to cook the Brussels sprouts in there with garlic and shallots and bacon, lemon juice. I'll crisp up the bacon and dice it up. And I'm just going to barbecue the pork chops.

I have this barbecue marinade from Chiavetta's - it's not a sauce, it's more like a Southern marinade, with vinegar and lots of spices. I get it up at Rife's Market. I put it on chicken, ribs - it works on anything.

Due Amici

67 E. Gay St., Short North


Web: due-amici.com