One of my most favorite recent cookbooks is, Todd Wilbur’s, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes: Creating Kitchen Clones From America’s Favorite Restaurant Chains. Why? Because the average American eats out 198 times a year or four times a week and why not help them save some money? Not only that, but you can take these recipes and substitute lower calorie options for the ingredients and get a healthier version of the same foods you get at places like Chili’s. Cracker Barrel, Pizza Hut Long Horn Steak House, Marie Calendars, Dive, Applebee’s. BenieHana, Bennigans, Big Boy, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Denny’s. Hard Rock Café, Hooters, Houlihan’s. International House of Pancakes, Lone Star Steak House and Saloon, The Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Perkin’s Family Restaurants. Pizza Hut, Planet Hollywood, Red Lobster, Red Robin Burgher and Spirits Emporium, Ruby Tuesday, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shoney’s, Sizzler, Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus, T.G.I Friday’s, Tony Roma’s A Place for Ribs and Western Sizzlin.
Only a few of these are available in the North East where I live. However, I’ve lived in other parts of the United States including the Southeast, the Midwest and the Northwest, so I have experienced a number of these. I can say, I’ve never been to a Sonic Burgher and my life may not be complete until I try this food, though I know I probably won’t like it since I am used to eating fresh, clean, whole healthy food. So who knows? I did once eat at a White Castle in the middle of the night in Cincinnati when I was in graduate school, but that is a tale for another time!
I can say that after six years of working at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier VT, I have become very aware of food where it comes from, the farmers that grew or raised the food and how the animals in particular were treated. So, as much as I may have frequented these chains in the past, I don’t any more.
That being said, you can make all of the recipes in this book from fresh local ingredients, grown and raised by local farmers in some cases organic, but in all cases who treat their animals humanely. I consider this a win, win.
If you try one of these let me know what you think.