celebrity shopping

What Chef Jonathan Waxman Can’t Live Without

Photo: Courtesy Grey Goose

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked chef Jonathan Waxman about the pen, olive oil, and polo shirts he can’t live without.

Most salt that you buy, I’m sorry to say, has been chemically altered with anti-caking ingredients or some other kind of nonsense. Maldon is a pure product. It has this flakiness to it; you can crush it in your fingers to turn it from coarse salt into fine salt. Also, Maldon is saltier than other salts. I don’t know why that is; it’s not actually saltier chemically, but it tastes saltier. Sometimes you even get crystals that look like snow crystals. It’s a good last-minute additive on caramel ice cream, or to get a little bit of a crunch or on steaks. In salads too. Fish is also the best with Maldon. I keep it right next to the stove — actually, I keep two different kinds of salt there. I’ve got Maldon salt and then I’ve got a Brittany salt. The Brittany salt is a little more chunky. I like that too, but for different things. This I’ll use on everything.

I’m from California. I like T-shirts, and these are basically a formal T-shirt. I have them in every color, probably 50 at a minimum. I love that they’re long in the back but short in the front; that I can wear one to the beach or wear one to a fancy dinner. And they get better with age — after a couple of washes, they’re perfect. I first saw them on the guy that organized Woodstock, Michael Lang. In the 1970 documentary Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music, he’s wearing a blue Lacoste polo shirt. When I saw it, I thought it was the coolest-looking shirt in the world, and have worn them ever since. That was many, many years ago. Whenever I wear one on TV, they want me to cover up the logo or wear something else. It’s always an issue, but I still wear them, because I love them.

I’m all about blue. I wear blue. I have a blue Sharpie to sign books with. I write everything in blue ink. It’s just the best color. This particular pen is great — it has a fine point to it, which I like. Plus, it just feels good. It doesn’t exude too much ink, so it lasts a long time. I like to doodle, so it’s a good pen for doodling. I do all the designing for my restaurants, and draw everything out. I do menu design. I do physical design. I do kitchen design. I do exhaust design. I write out recipes too. I think the pen makes my ugly handwriting look palatable, so I can almost read it and other people can kind of read it. Sometimes, I’ll forget a pen is in my pocket and will throw one in the wash. That’s a really bad idea — don’t wash the pens. Though they actually don’t blow up very much when that happens. They’re pretty well made.