9 Chefs Confess The One Food They Just Can't Master

We expect chefs to be even better than us mere foodies when it comes to cooking. And whether or not they hold a culinary degree or not, that usually bears out. After all, if you've devoted your life to something, you're going to be better than the average home enthusiast. And even those with specialities, like dessert or Italian, are usually still pretty comfortable with a range of delicacies and dishes.

But just like not every chef will eat everything out there, they aren't masters of every dish and cooking technique. Maybe it's their high standards, maybe it's that even the best of us fail sometimes. To find out what foods even the pros can't master, we asked some of our favorite chefs. From the complicated (French pastry) to the very simple (toast), it's enough to make you feel better about your own mangled efforts at baking bread or attempting sushi.

Rachael Ray
A bonafide expert at easy meals, there's nevertheless one simple food that Ray can't get right: "Toast. I stink at toast. I burn it every time." The host of the annual Burger Bash at NYCWFF went on to clarify there's one more staple she's not so comfortable with: "My husband John is in charge of coffee because I can't make a decent cup of it. I am also not a baker… I try from time to time but baking it too precise for me. My sister Maria is the baker in the family."
Ayesha Curry
Cookbook author and blogger Ayesha Curry is up for eating most things (except for foie gras), but there's one thing she can't master. Before cohosting the NYC Wine and Food Festival's (NYCWFF) Family Ice Cream event, she shared the one dish that still eludes her: "I can't seem to master poached eggs. Can't do it!"
Ree Drummond
Despite having to master most of her favorite foods through the necessity of living on a ranch, the Pioneer Woman still can't make bread work for her. "I have failed bread for 48 years," she told Refinery29 in an interview. She has been able to make a baguette or sandwich loaf as a one-off with success but has never duplicated it. There is one bakery item she's very comfortable with, however: cinnamon rolls.
Photo: David Becker/Getty Images.
Giada De Laurentiis
The Italian chef and advocate for No Kid Hungry is comfortable whipping together any number of dishes, but there's one thing she's still working on. “I've never been able to master Chinese food," she says.
Deb Perelman
Deb Perelman's blog, Smitten Kitchen, (and later cookbooks) contains many love letters to NYC. So it's no surprise that, when it comes to food she'd rather not make, it has a lot to do with living in the Big Apple.

"There's a lot of things that you can get in New York City that I have no desire to bother with. I just I don't need to make bagels. I don't need to make sushi. I don't need to make croissants. I probably would if I left New York but I have very little desire to bother," she says.
Matt Hyland
The mastermind behind cult-favorite Emily (and participant in Rachael Ray's Burger Bash), Matt Hyland is another chef who struggles to perfect a basic dish. "I’m good at risotto but plain rice I just can’t figure out," he says. "I’m so bad at making it. Even using a rice maker I somehow mess it up."
Stephanie Izard
Stephanie Izard has the recognition of her peers, that's for sure: the Top Chef winner (who opened her first restaurant at 27) is also an Iron Chef and James Beard award winner. But when judging an Iron Chef competition as part of the NYCWFF, she confessed to Refinery29 that there's still one thing she can't make: “I've never been able to master my mom’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe."
Marc Murphy
The Chopped star has similar feelings to Deb Perelman about the joys of eating out. Another Food Network star who participated in NYCWFF, he told Refinery29 something he's not good at making is Japanese food, "which is great because it's one of my favorites kinds of food to experience at a restaurant or by a master himself." That's a sentiment we can endorse.
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