Chefs prepare fabulous food for themselves, their restaurant patrons, their families, and their friends. But some chefs — including famous ones such as Rachael Ray and Georges Perrier — make marvelous meals for their animal friends as well. Salmon, salad, steak, soufflé, and more: Find out what some of America’s luckiest dogs are getting in their bowls.
Todd Gray, a five-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef nominee, is the executive chef and co-owner of Equinox Restaurant in Washington, DC, where Michelle Obama celebrated her 45th birthday in 2009. Gray and his wife, Ellen, “are devoted German Shepherd owners, their two current dogs having both been rescued,” says Kathryn Levy Feldman, who featured Gray in her book The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs — and So Can You!
Every year, the Grays host the Sugar and Champagne gala, to which top chefs contribute elegant desserts, as a benefit for the Washington Humane Society. Gray devised Pup Casserole, a special recipe for his dogs that includes ground beef, chicken, or pork along with pasta, peas, carrots, corn, and Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.
“Like us, our dogs love to eat,” Gray explains in The Culinary Canine. “The best is coming home at night after I have walked all over the kitchen floor during service, and the soles of my shoes are licked up and down by both of them — you can see what interests them after a shift by the bottom of my shoes. I can’t imagine how lucky they think I am, with all of these smells on me every night — I had to create something gourmet and special for them.”
Popular Today Show contributor Harry Schwartz, aka “Chef Harry,” appeared on The Martha Stewart Show with his sleek brown shorthaired pup, Blitz. Schwartz explained that Blitz being afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome makes him a special dog who requires special food.
The dazzling presentation entailed pan-browned pork medallions — cut into small rounds — with organic baby-carrot purée and oatmeal “truffles,” served on a Martha Stewart plate on a silver tray. “And he has my mother’s antique Lalique water glass,” Schwartz added. As Blitz tucked into the meal, Schwartz intervened with knife and fork, saying: “Let Daddy cut this up for you.”
Edward Mac of the now-closed Parlour Wine Bar and Bistro in Glendora, California, is a Le Cordon Bleu grad who teaches courses on cooking gourmet “people food” for dogs. Mac was inspired to do this work by his German shepherd mix, Sapphire.
At the Los Angeles County Fair in 2010, Mac offered live demonstrations. During the fair’s opening weekend alone, he showed fairgoers how to prepare the following dishes — for dogs: barbecued beef tips, red snapper stew, Alaskan pink salmon, chicken fried rice, lasagna, peanut-butter-and-apple-smoked-bacon cupcakes, apple-cinnamon muffins, blondies, rosemary cake with vanilla-yogurt frosting, carob-chip cookies, and peanut-butter-chip cookes. Among his many recipes is one for a split-pea-garlic kibble.
Jessie Boucher is a personal chef and co-owner of the Jessie et Laurent culinary service, which delivers about 1,400 gourmet meals a day throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area. She has a Chihuahua named Diva.
“I doubt there is a dog that eats better than Diva. She feasts on poached chicken breasts or pork tenderloin that is diced tiny,” Boucher says. “We then freeze it in small packets. We defrost and mix about two tablespoons with her store-bought dried food — so she is sure to get the doggie nutrients she needs — then mix this with a little purified warm water to make a ‘sauce’ and season with her enzyme powder to keep her teeth clean, and voila! A perfect meal for a four-pound chihuahua.”
Jason Hill, star of the popular YouTube series “Chef Tips,” presented an episode about cooking for his Shih Tzu puppy, Sugar. From Wendy Nan Rees’ The Natural Pet Food Cookbook, Hill chose a recipe called Bandit’s Beef Stew. First, he preheated the oven to 350 degrees.Then into a sprayed glass casserole dish, he placed one pound of cooked ground beef, one cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a one-pound can of sliced carrots, a half-pound can of corn kernels, one tablespoon of wheatgerm, half a teaspoonful of brewer’s yeast, and an eight-ounce can of condensed tomato soup. He tossed these ingredients gently in the dish, topping them with half a cup of Parmesan cheese, which he patted down with the back of a spoon.
After baking the dish — which is really not a stew but a casserole — for thirty minutes, Hill let it cool, then offered Sugar a slice, which the puppy devoured happily as Hill served himself a protein-rich spoonful. He offered a conscientious warning that some dogs are allergic to corn, so pet owners should check with their vets before serving their dogs this dish.
Anita Lo, who beat Mario Battali on Iron Chef in 2005, is chef/owner of Annisa restaurant in New York City, whose streets she bicycles with Shih Tzus Mochi and Adzuki in her bike basket. As detailed in Kathryn Levy Feldman’s book The Culinary Canine: Great Chefs Cook for Their Dogs — and So Can You!, Mochi suffers from various food allergies, but fish is safe for her to eat. A favorite dish that Lo prepares for her pups is roasted bluefish filet with roasted yams, peas, and bacon. Its recipe, along with many others offered by many other dog-loving chefs, appears in Feldman’s book.
Georges Perrier was widely credited with launching the restaurant revolution in Philadelphia, thanks to his restaurant Le Bec-Fin. A member of the French National Order of Merit, Perrier retired recently and sold Le Bec-Fin earlier this year. “But his devotion to his Bichon Frise, Isabelle, is going strong,” says Feldman, who featured Perrier in her book. “The dog understands French and English and has never in her life eaten commercially prepared dog food. He prepares her food at one of his restaurants about once a month and stores it in individual portions in his home freezer. The mixture consists of a combination of ground chicken and London Broil — hand ground, naturally — mixed with carrots and string beans and topped with Parmesan cheese. Visitors to Perrier’s home have been known to request some of Isabelle’s food for a snack, it is that good.”
Alan Carlson is the chef/owner of the Zagat-rated Italian Colors Restaurant in Oakland, California.He has a mixed-breed named Marley. “I have a goldendoodle, half mini poodle and half golden retriever,” he says. “He has the air of a poodle, and everyone is a new friend to be made — mostly. Marley loves brined and smoked chicken, along with 72-hour braised short rib, no sauce.”
Dominique Crenn, chef-owner of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn, is another Iron Chef champ. As detailed by Kathryn Levy Feldman, who featured Gray in her book, Crenn has a Chihuahua. “Maximus is Dominique’s second Chihuahua, whom she rescued to keep her first one — the late Julius — company,” Feldman tells Dogster. “She calls him a ‘little man with a soul’ and he is her devoted companion, accompanying her everywhere, except into the restaurant kitchen. She adores him.” The poached chicken, organic brown rice, and blueberries that Crenn enjoys preparing for Maximus includes “only the finest ingredients.”
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray launched a dog-food company, Nutrish, as a charity to help needy animals. She is well known for her love of pet pit bulls Boo, who passed away in 2004, and Isaboo, who has appeared frequently on Ray’s TV show. On her website, Ray posts recipes for many wholesome dishes that dogs and people can enjoy together.These include parsley-meatloaf sliders, “Boo-sotto,” gazpacho, muffins, biscuits, pancakes (as pictured up top) and turkey patties.