celebrity shopping

What Chef Jacques Torres Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Joel Marasigan

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 hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked pastry chef Jacques Torres, who is the head judge of Netflix’s Nailed It! and recently partnered with Woodford Reserve to create a bonbon benefiting the Jacques Pépin Foundation, about the hard-to-lose reading glasses, honorary chef’s jacket, and wedding band he never takes off.

This was a gift, and I fell in love with it. Many coolers for wine are made out of terra-cotta, which works well, but this one works even better. I am from Bandol, in the south of France. If you Google Bandol, you will find Bandol wine. Bandol wine put rosé on the map. But you really need to chill rosé. Here’s an interesting story about rosé: I was in Ibiza, and my cousin used to go to all the restaurants over there to sell wine. We drank together one day. He kept the bottle on ice, then served us half an inch to three-quarters of an inch in a glass. That’s it. But he poured frequently. I asked him, “Lucas, why do you serve so little wine?” He said, “Because I want you to enjoy it cold. It is 100 degrees outside, the wine will warm quickly if left out.” I didn’t even think about that. He’s a smart man. Now, I do that, too. Except instead of an ice bucket, I use this cooler. I keep it on my table and it keeps my wine very cold. It’s easy to travel with, too.

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

Maybe because I am from Bandol that I feel this way, but the rosé from here is best. You cannot call it Bandol wine if it is not made in Bandol territory and using a certain percentage of Mourvèdre grapes. The plant also has to have a certain age in order to have the Bandol name. It is very, very serious. There are maybe 50 or 60 different properties that make wine in that little village. But Domaine Tempier is some of the best. I took my wife there this year, and I asked for the daughter of the original owner because she is a friend. But I found out she is actually retired. I forget that I am at the age now where a lot of my friends are retired. I am sure she left the brand in good hands. It’s an incredible rosé.

I am not, how do you call it, a fashion man. But if I buy something, I want good-quality things. And Bragard makes their jackets with a really high-quality Egyptian cotton. We spend so much time in these jackets, so they need to be nice. It’s also very warm in our kitchen. We keep it at 80 degrees at all times, so when you sweat, your skin can get irritated if it’s not good quality, and you can feel very uncomfortable. I wear the jacket that Bragard specially makes for people who won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, or MOF, which is a very prestigious competition in France. I won that competition when I was 26. My jacket has blue, white, and red on the collar; I wear the French flag around my neck. I also buy it because of the buttons; they’re round, instead of flat. Imagine you are in a kitchen and very hot liquid falls on you or you splash oil and you set yourself on fire. The buttons allow the jacket to be pulled off in a matter of seconds in case of an accident, so you don’t burn yourself. If your jacket has flat buttons, good luck getting it off. You’ll be very badly burned. This scenario has happened to me a couple of times. Look, it’s hot oil and sugar and water, it is bound to happen, and this jacket is very practical.

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

I love peanuts so much. We stopped working with them in my factory because it is a deadly allergy. We have a peanut-free factory and I do not allow anyone to bring them in for themselves. So at home, I eat a lot of peanuts. My father loved peanuts. We used to watch TV together and eat peanuts. We don’t buy peanuts already shelled, though. You need the shell. But my mom would get mad at us because we made a mess. When I came to America, I started to research the best place to buy peanuts in the shell because most Americans buy them already shelled. I started getting these, and after dinner, I sit and talk to my wife while eating peanuts. You know how kids go outside to play during the day and it’s just a time for them to do something they enjoy? Eating these is like my little recess for the day.

$40

These are like regular glasses, but the two sides of the glasses are connected in the middle by a magnet. I wear them on my shoulders, so they hang; then when I need glasses, I click them together and have glasses. I can see faraway things pretty well, but with age, I stopped being able to see close things well. These are very practical. I never lose them. There is no chance they will fall into a bowl of chocolate at work. But it is funny because when I used to ride my motorcycle — I gave it up about a year ago — I would forget that I have these glasses around my neck. I would take my motorcycle out, then as I started to drive, I could feel something shift around my neck. Then I would realize my glasses were gone. That is the only time I lost them. Other than that, they’re difficult to lose.

Call me lazy, but these make things so much more efficient. I’m all about convenience. In France, we use these things that we call gloves. It’s a square fabric with two sides and a hole in the middle, like a mitten, almost. You put your hands in the middle, then take the soap and make the bubbles with the mitt. You put it on your right hand to wash your left side, then put it on your left hand to wash your right side. One day, I saw these exfoliating gloves in the supermarket that are similar but have five fingers and you put them on both hands. I now can wash myself with two hands, and it goes a lot faster. It’s kind of like the gloves I used to use to wash my boat. I lived on a boat for six years, and every time you come back to shore, I put on these gloves to wash it. I exfoliated my boat the same way I exfoliate myself. It’s a funny invention, no?

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

I’m French, and I think I look good in jeans, so jeans are my everyday piece of clothing. I wear them at work. Even on TV, I wear these jeans. I’m always in jeans. These give a little bit, so if I gain a couple of pounds, I don’t have to change my jeans. Look, we all have our little secrets, no? Bad jeans are like bad knives to me. If you feel like your jeans are a prison and you don’t feel good in them, then you should change your jeans. There is no reason to wear bad jeans, just like there is no reason to put up with a bad knife.