5 Local Chefs Dish on Their Guilty Pleasure Foods


Five local chefs dish about their guilty pleasure foods.

Even the folks who make a living crafting gourmet dishes at Fort Worth’s most reputable restaurants have something in common with the casual diner — a guilty pleasure meal. Here, chefs and chef-owners share the one indulgence they can’t resist.


Jon Bonnell
Chef and owner of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Waters Restaurant and Buffalo Bros

While chef Jon Bonnell straddles the line between fine dining (Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Waters Restaurant) and pub food (Buffalo Bros), he’s also a sucker for “good ol’ Tex-Mex” and treats himself to an order of fajita nachos and a cold beer, or two, after competing in a triathlon or half marathon.

But Bonnell says there’s one guilty pleasure he considers a daily necessity: “I’m famous for having guacamole and chips as a snack almost every day.”

Apple Fritter

Keith Hicks
Executive chef at Buttons Restaurant

Chef Keith Hicks has always had a taste for authentic Southern comfort food, even off the clock. One thing Hicks cannot resist is found at the hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot, Yoko Donuts, on Camp Bowie Boulevard. According to Hicks, Yoko has the best apple fritters in town, made just how he likes it — “fried hard and super glazed,” he says. 

Dark Chocolate

Molly McCook
Chef and co-owner of Ellerbe Fine Foods

Chef Molly McCook is known for the elegant, farm-to-table cuisine she serves at Ellerbe Fine Foods on Magnolia Avenue. Her guilty pleasure is no surprise: rich, dark chocolate.

“The darker, the better,” McCook says. 


Ben Merritt 
Chef and owner of Fixture – Kitchen and Social Lounge

Fixture chef Ben Merritt’s time in the Navy gave him the opportunity to travel the world and sample various cuisines. But even world travels can’t take the place of a small-town burger joint — K-Pop Burger in Keller.

Merritt’s burger of choice? The house burger — an 8-ounce patty served between a Pearl Snap Kolache bun, which Merritt simply describes as “fabulous.” 

Chocolate Donuts

Marcus Paslay
Chef and owner of Piattello Italian Kitchen and Clay Pigeon

Sure, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and has traveled around the country learning skills from numerous top-name chefs. But his guilty pleasure? Doughnuts. “I like chocolate glazed,” he says, “and the best come from Blue Bonnet Bakery.”

By Sunday Nester