I’ve grown desperately weary of the hullabaloo surrounding Salt Bae and his wretched $50,000 steak dinners. Fortunately, there’s one celebrity keeping it casual on the dining front: Jay Leno, who told CNBC Make It that he can’t bring himself to ball out on high-priced food—even though he can afford it.
The former late night host told CNBC that he still gets all his meals “from guys in paper hats,” noting that he’s “not a fancy restaurant guy.” He even stopped dining at his favorite steakhouse when the steak price increased to $70. “I don’t go there anymore,” Leno said. “That’s ridiculous. There’s no reason a steak should be $70.”
Turns out, he’s always been this way. CNBC notes that Leno used to frequent New York’s iconic Carnegie Deli before his rise to fame, back when the deli’s burgers cost $1.10 and the roast beef sandwich was $4.95. “I always thought, ‘someday I’m going to make enough money that I can go in there and have the roast beef sandwich,’” Leno told the network.
But when he returned to get that roast beef—as a millionaire, some 30 years later—he found the sandwich’s price had inflated to around $18. He walked out. “I still couldn’t bring myself to do that,” he says.
Leno’s distaste for high-priced food extends to room service. “I can’t sit in my room and have people bring food to me on a tray,” he says. “If you’re too lazy to walk downstairs and get something to eat and have people pushing food into your room instead, now you’re just a rich, bloated idiot.”
The room service thing, I get. I’ve never been able to justify a $15 slice of Marriott cheesecake. However, the roast beef sandwich thing makes me a little sad. If I ever achieve Leno’s kind of success, I’ll gladly pay $18 for a really good roast beef sandwich. You gotta know when to treat yourself—even if the food isn’t served by a guy in a paper hat.