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Celebrity Chefs Recommend The Best Candy To Hand Out On Halloween
6 months ago

Being a fancy chef at one of our nation's premiere eating establishments doesn't stop you from having a sweet tooth when Halloween rolls around! The Strategist tracked down some such restaurant runners and asked them: Do you prefer a candy bar or a sucker? A marshmallow or a twizzler? A Werther's Original or a Cow Tale? These chefs were all kids once and they gave some pretty relatable answers.

Sarah Rich, chef/co-owner of Rich Table in San Francisco, claims they're not for her BUT...

Kit Kats. I never buy them for myself, but I use Halloween as an opportunity to indulge a bit. They’re just perfect candies — crunchy, chewy, sweet, and salty.

Floyd Cardoz, chef/owner of Paowalla in New York, has fond bear memories:

I love gummy candy but especially Haribo Gold Bears. I first ate these when I was in hospitality school in Switzerland. I remember eating an entire large bag in the bus. They are tart and flavorful — the kind of candy you could eat all the time.

For Matt Hyland, chef/co-owner of Emily in New York, it's all about getting the right ratio:

Peanut Butter Twix. It may sound odd but I am not usually a chocolate or peanut butter fan. There is something about this combo that hits all the right flavors and textures. They are even better when frozen.

Joanne Chang, chef/owner at Flour Bakery and Myers + Chang in Boston, won't eat it unless it's sour:

I love sour anything. I grew up eating sour pickled plums from the Asian market my mom shopped at, and now I am addicted to anything sour and sweet and snacky. Sour Patch Kids used to be the only way you could get sour candies, but now there are sour worms, sour straws, sour watermelon — my mouth is literally watering as I type this.

Kris Yenbamroong may be the chef/owner at Night + Market in Los Angeles, but he still loves the simpler things:

I like to pass out fortune cookies. Not only do you get a sweet treat, but you get a nice message too.

For Dan Kluger, chef/owner of Loring Place in New York, the rarity of a certain candy makes it irresistible:

Tootsie Fruit Chews. I remember from a very young age that only at Halloween would I see these, and I never even really knew what they were, but I loved them. I loved the fact that, at least at the time, they seemed so special, so rare. And those flavors — mixed berry, lemon, and vanilla — taste so good in chewy candy form.

I happen to agree with Anna Posey, chef/co-owner of Elske in Chicago:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love them because chocolate and peanut butter are perfect together. I can’t think of a better candy, especially around Halloween. I’m pro-pumpkin shaped or regular.

Some of these, like the choice of Angela Garbacz, chef/owner of Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, Nebraska, I've never even heard of:

Hands down, a Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll. It has everything you need: soft nougat center, thick layer of caramel, and a salty, crunchy peanut coating. It’ll get bonus points from your gluten-free trick-or-treaters — but everyone will love it.

Some chef's, like Marcus Samuelsson, chef/co-owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Streetbird Rotisserie in New York, have a highly developed palette that yearns for candy from overseas:

My top pick for Halloween candy would be Daim, a Swedish crunchy chocolate bar with caramel and almonds that I used to eat as a kid.

Kristen Kish, chef/author of Kristen Kish Cooking, was the person who actually liked those gummy burgers:

I haven’t handed out candy many years since my childhood. Working, living in condo buildings, and traveling (did I mention my cookbook comes out October 31st this year?) prevents this from happening. But I love the chewy fruity, fun shapes — in particular, the mini gummy burgers, or even the ones shaped like spiders and clowns. The more colorful the better. The more ‘cartoonish’ and artificial, the more delightful to eat. For me these candies always win out over the houses that give out full-sized candy bars.

I guess people like Thea Habjanic, executive pastry chef at La Sirena in New York, are still young at heart:

My favorite has always been the Hershey’s four pack of Milk Chocolate, Special Dark, Mr. Goodbar, and Krackel. The variety is key here — so many options of good, low-brow chocolate in one bag, for whatever mood you’re in. I tend to gravitate towards Krackel and Special Dark first, because it’s rare to see these at any time other than Halloween. Mr. Goodbar is next, then the milk. Pop them in the fridge for extra deliciousness.