Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.

In today’s Receipt, a 32-year-old restaurant chef makes “clean out the veggie drawer” nachos, chicken galantine with chimichurri, and frozen pizza with hot giardiniera. He lives in Chicago (where The Bear‘s second season has recently put restaurant chefs in the spotlight again). Keep reading for his receipts.

Jump ahead:

The financesThe dietThe expensesThe diary

The finances

What are your pronouns? He/him

What is your occupation? Restaurant chef

How old are you? 32

What city and state do you live in? Chicago, Illinois

What is your annual salary, if you have one? $75,000

How much is one paycheck after taxes? $2,100

How often are you paid? (e.g., weekly) Every other week

How much money do you have in savings? $5,000

What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (rent, subscriptions, bills, e.g.)

Total: $1,440Rent/Utilities: $1,000Student loans: $250Car/Moped insurance and gas: $150Subscriptions: $40

The diet

Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? No.

What are grocery staples do you always buy, if any? Eggs, lunch meat (mortadella, ham), and Muenster cheese, usually. Red pepper, red onion, usually a cucumber or tomato. I really like to shop before every meal. I don’t keep a ton of extra stuff on hand.

How often in a week do you dine out versus cook at home? I probably eat out two to three times a week, cook at home two to three times a week, and eat at work the rest.

How often in a week did you dine out while growing up? Maybe once a week, probably two to three times a month. We would go out and have pizza on Fridays pretty often.

How often in a week did your parents or guardians cook at home? Almost every day. My dad would grill a lot when it was nice. Hot dogs, hamburgers, a chicken breast here or there. Nothing crazy. My mom’s side of the family is Sicilian and she would make pasta sauce with meatballs and sausage. Stuffed shells were made for holidays and always a treat. Minestrone soup was another pretty common meal. We had a sit-down dinner as a family most nights of the week.

The expenses

Week’s total: $191.26Restaurants and cafés total: $91.08Groceries total: $100.18Most expensive meal or purchase: $37, Go Tavern and LiquorsLeast expensive meal or purchase: Spanish onion from Cermak Produce, 48¢Number of restaurant and café meals: 3Number of grocery trips: 2

The diary


I bring pimento cheese and Ritz crackers—they’re left over from a party we had at work.

8:40 a.m. Coffee from Aldi (previously bought) from my French press.

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