See how our beloved new kitchen came together -- and see below for a chance to win a KitchenAid food processor!
When we moved into our own office in Chelsea, Manhattan, we faced a space that was big, airy, sunny -- and blank. Like every home cook, we had to get a kitchen together: a kitchen we could cook and photograph all of your recipes in, to make lunch in, to have fun in, to feel at home in. This was a kitchen to mark a new beginning of Food52 -- and we wanted to do it right. We wanted it to feel like us.
We wanted to create a place where heirlooms -- as well as towering layer cakes, steaming bowls of pasta, vibrant salads, and trays of cookies -- were made.
This is our tools and utensil props drawer.
How did we go about creating a cozy workshop, a functioning workspace, and beautiful place to hang out in -- out of an empty white wall and some fun ideas? We turned to our friend Brad Sherman, an interior and office designer, who we'd collaborated with to set up our office with lighting, desks (made from scratch!), and furnishings. For the kitchen, Brad helped us map out the space and come up with a plan that would blend new appliances, natural surfaces, utilitarian details, and a super-tight budget. Then he worked his magic and made it all come together.
And while he worked, we started gathering. We gathered pieces from vintage shops and from the web; we gathered tools and plates and supplies from producers we respect and admire; we looked to Provisions -- and still do! -- to find the items that grace our counters, our shelves, our drawers.
Like any home kitchen, ours is always evolving. We scour flea markets and antique shops and bring back things that we love. We covet items from our favorite stores, and sometimes, we spring for them. We research, we read, and we listen; creating our kitchen is just as exciting as cooking in it.
Our dishwasher, refrigerator, food processor, stand mixer, microwave, oven, and induction stovetop are all from KitchenAid. We bought the farmhouse sink on eBay and the faucet on Amazon. The shelves are reclaimed Kentucky barnwood, which Brad helped us source at M. Fine Lumber in Brooklyn; the brackets are Elfa from the Container Store. And the counter is Calacatta marble from a marble cutting shop one block away from our office. See how we mix old and new on our counter and shelves? We're internet-y yet nostalgic.
We have two white enamel canisters, two grey enamel canisters, one double oven mitt, and one Reiss pot from one of our favorite online shops, Ancient Industries. Coppermill Kitchen let us permanently borrow one 7 1/2-inch sauce pot, and Le Creuset gave us three covered pots in Dune. The bull horns are on loan from Marian. We have a "little dish" problem, as you can see, and they come from everywhere -- from CB2 to flea markets to Merrill's home kitchen (where we promise to return them someday!). James found the double boiler on the top row and donated it to us. Amanda bought the copper mixing bowl in France (upper right) in 1994 -- she's that old. And that gold bowl with the blue stripes comes from Amanda's favorite antiques store, Sage Street in Sag Harbor (you have to get there before it opens and wait in line; we like competitive cookware shopping, too!).
Our cabinetry is all below-the-counter and is focused on drawers and shelving for pots, pans, salad spinners, utility bowls, and scales -- all the things you need but don't want to display on open shelving. Our sturdy white cabinets were made by Diamond Cabinets. Andy Wells, vice president of product design for the company, said he was "thrilled to partner with Food52 to design the new test kitchen using Diamond Cabinets. The new Food52 test kitchen offers the perfect balance of beauty, brains and brawn, creating a space that's both stylish and functional." Now we're blushing.
Do you like the knife slit we had cut into our countertop? Since our prep counter is on the island, we liked the idea of having our knives next to us, at the ready. We ordered the John Boos black walnut countertop from Butcher Block Co. Our chef knife, vegetable knife, paring knife, bread knife are all from Chubo. The colorful knives on the left are by Opinel and we bought them at Whisk. We can't remember where the rest came from -- we collected them like strays along the way!
Oaktown Spice Shop filled our spice drawer from Anise to Shichimi Togarashi, while La Boite provided us with a host of spice blends: N.3: Bombay (turmeric, fenugreek, clove), N.4: Luberon (lavender, basil, fennel), N.5: Breeze (tea, anise, lemon), N.6: Marrakesh (cumin, cinnamon, thyme), N.11: Cancale (Fleur de Sel, orange, fennel), N.13: Galil (verbena, white cardamom, sage), N.18: Smoked Cinnamon, N. 21: Moruno, N.22: Cataluna (pimento, smoked cinnamon), N.25: Escabeche (lemon, saffron, coriander, fennel), and N.29: Apollonia (cocoa, orange blossom, pepper).
We could probably survive on coffee and olive oil, and we happily use our regular supply of oil (Miller's blend, Arbequina, and Everyday EVOO) from California Olive Ranch each day, as well as our stash of coffee from Intelligentsia. And we're salt fiends so we usually have bowls of kosher, coarse sea salt, and a flakey variety like Jacobsen or Maldon.
On a typical shoot day, we'll use everything in this drawer! Ancient Industries donated copper dish cloths, and Studiopatro gave us tea towels, flour sack towels, two café aprons, and two kitchen aprons.
We hang our prop linens on a row of hangers and we keep an ironing board out during shoots. These are our aprons, back before berry season did its damage.
We're insatiable collectors of plates and glassware, and rarely do we have more than two of any one dish. On the top shelf, above, are Pillivuyt brioche and clafoutis molds and cake stand, and a ceramic tart pan found at a flea market. Some of the glassware below is Bodum, one is an heirloom from Amanda's family, and a few are from thrift shops. Some of the Heath Ceramics you see on the bottom shelf come from Amanda's house and Heath kindly gave us a bunch more plates in handsome neutrals for our photo shoots.
Our drinks workshop: we start mornings on the bottom shelf with our coffee and tea supplies and work our way up to the evening cocktail gear on the top shelf. The cart is on wheels, for convenience. Bodum gave us the French press, a tea pot, a timer, and a coffee grinder for all of our caffeination needs.
The Cleaning Supplies
So that we can use our new toys over and over again, Method provides us with regular supplies of hand soap, dish soap, dishwasher tabs, anti-bacterial spray, and granite cleaner. And Brad helped us tuck them all away behind a neutral linen curtain that he had made.
Comment on this post by 12 p.m. E.S.T September 25th with your own kitchen design tips -- or if you have any sources for little dishes and old platters. One commenter will win a KitchenAid food processor!
And thanks again to our awesome sponsors for making this kitchen come to life:
Get $10 off your first purchase of $50 or more.