4 Levels of Caesar Salad: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious


We challenged chefs of three different skill levels – amateur John, home cook Daniel, and professional chef Saúl Montiel from Cantina Rooftop – to make us their best caesar salad. Once each level of chef had presented their creations, we asked expert food scientist Rose to explain the choices each made along the way. Which caesar salad makes you want to ask “Et tu, crouton?”

Looking for John on Insta? @johndlopresto
Follow Daniel on Instagram @iamdanielvictor
Keep up with chef Saúl on Instagram @chefsaulmontiel and @CantinaRooftop
Rose is on Instagram at @rosemarytrout_foodscience

Director: Chris Principe
Editor: Manolo Moreno
Level 1 – John LoPresto
Level 2 – Daniel Victor
Level 3 – Saul Montiel

Director of Culinary Production: Kelly Janke
Producer: Tyre Nobles
Associate Producer: Sam Ghee
Culinary Producer: Jessica Do
Culinary Associate Producer: Katrina Zito
Line Producer: Jennifer McGinity
Production Manager: Janine Dispensa
Production Coordinator: Elizabeth Hymes

Director of Photography: Jeremy Harris
Camera Operator: Lucas Young
Audio: Rachel Suffian
Production Assistant: Rafael Vasquez

Post Production Supervisor: Andrea Farr
Post Production Coordinator: Scout Alter
Supervising Editor: Eduardo Araújo
Assistant Editor: Billy Ward
Graphics Supervisor: Ross Rackin
Graphics, Animation, VFX: Léa Kichler

Still haven’t subscribed to Epicurious on YouTube? ►►

Browse thousands of recipes and videos from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and more. Find inventive cooking ideas, ingredients, and restaurant menus from the world’s largest food archive.





  1. Even though John is not an experienced cook, but he's sweet and adorable. But, no, my darling – it does not take an hour to make the dressing. (When my friend came to dinner. He said he didn't like anchovies, so he was glad the Caesar salad didn't have any. But guess what, my friend….).
    Daniel was very lazy with those croutons. I make them 1/4 the size so they roast faster and more evenly and also have a better mouth feel as the bigger ones can hurt the mouths of many people. But I am glad to see our vegan fellows getting some attention.

  2. While I totally get that add-ons were kind of a prerequisite for this exercise, I think a good classic Caesar salad is just such a complete and done thing that doesn't need more doing, in the wild. There's a Pantheon of salads, and Caesar is in it. Done right, it's done, dig?

    And we do see a lot of grilled chicken on menus franchise and domestic, but that's mealifying a non-meal. That's "what if a Caesar salad could be a whole meal on its own?" It can't. Let's have a Caesar salad and then a separately prepared protein next to it. I'm not saying it's not OK to make a grilled chicken Caesar salad. Eating is life. Eating is practical. Eating is what works to keep you alive. I'm only talking about savoring here. It is a privileged experience. If your desire and your means align at savoring a Caesar salad, then skip the add-ons, because it's already all there. Otherwise it's like trying to experience a proper Italian coldcut sub/grinder/sammy/hoagie by making it completely by the books and then dipping it in tomato soup. It doesn't need that, you know?

    (And of course my last point implies a Pantheon of sandwiches. Of course there's one of those. It's even more diverse than the salad one. There are so many essential sandwiches.)