Chefs and Their Pets: for the Love of Food, and Fido

From Blue Buffalo to Taste of the Wild to Natural Balance, provides pet owners with just about every kind of pet food any dog would relish. We know all about the sophisticated palates of pampered pets. But when it comes to delicious vittles, no one does it quite like celebrity chefs.

Whether serving chicken stew or filet mignon, chefs treat and even feed their dogs high-end cuisine that would exceed human budgets. And while vets agree that a regular diet of "people food" isn’t always good for dogs, few chefs would be able to resist sharing a gourmet tidbit with their four-legged friends now and then.

Take Executive Chef Graham Dailey of Peninsula Grill, for example. This Charleston super chef woke up early one morning to Tater and Nola, his two ravenous dogs. Both were ready for breakfast. Naturally, there was nary a piece of kibble in sight. The cupboard was bare of dog food and it was too early for the market. Dailey, like any good dog lover, didn’t blink when it came down to sharing bounty that would make most foodies faint from an overdose of glee.

"I remembered I had some friends over earlier that week for wine, cheese, and charcuterie, and thought, 'Okay, let’s figure this out,'" he said.

What resulted was a snack fit for Charleston royalty. It included two pieces of whole grain sandwich bread, both sides slathered with chicken liver mousse.

"I took two good-sized slices of country pork pate, pressed them together, and cut them into bite-sized pieces," directs the chef, in case any readers want to duplicate the expensive snack. "Both dogs loved it."

While Dailey took haute cuisine to another level—the canine level, that is—Chef Christian Bertrand of the Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill, Martini Bar & Secret Cottages is downright decadent.

"I hand grind dry aged New York steaks into burgers, add garlic, cook to medium rare, and serve it to my two golden Labrador Retrievers," says Chef Bertrand, dad to Buckley and Kisses. "The extra garlic keeps away fleas as a bonus." Hmmm... that last fact might be lost on Buckley and Kisses, who likely spend their days swimming in lazy circles above their doggie dishes.

Perhaps nothing racks up the chef-feeds-pet-gourmet-food cute factor like Duskie Estes and her husband, John. This uber-chef couple own Zazu Restaurant + Farm and Black Pig Meat Company. And in a case of life imitating art, or art imitating life, or just plain irony, the Estes have a pig for a pet.

Duskie and John’s pet is fed scraps from the restaurant, which isn’t unusual. But what is unusual is that the oh-so-delicious leftovers from their children’s lunches also make the meal.