A Tour of the Food52 Kitchen

September 12, 2013

See how our beloved new kitchen came together -- and see below for a chance to win a KitchenAid food processor!

Kitchen from Food52

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.

Shop the Story

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.

Prop drawer from Food52

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.

Stool and Spanky

Here's Spanky on top of a kitchen stool from Schoolhouse Electric. The basket for our kitchen towels is from there, too.

The Appliances

Appliances from Food52

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.

The Cookware

Cookware from Food52

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!). 

The Cabinets


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.

The Knives


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!

The Pantry

Spice Drawer

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).

Intelligensia Coffee California Olive Ranch

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.

The Linens


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.

Kitchen linens Aprons from Food52

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.

The Serveware

Serveware from Food52

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.

Bar cart

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

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.

This kitchen was built from start to finish in 2 months, and was immediately thrust into overdrive, with recipes and photo shoots occupying it nearly every day. Just as we'd hoped.

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:

KitchenAidChuboLa BoiteDiamond

Studiopatro OaktownPillivuyt

Le Creuset Bodum

Intelligetsia Coppermill Kitchen Ancient industries


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sugartoast
  • Brian
  • Janice Grzywacz
    Janice Grzywacz
  • K and K
    K and K
  • Andrea
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Sugartoast November 5, 2015
Yes, I would love to know the dimensions of your shelving too please!
Brian September 4, 2015
Would you mind sharing the dimensions of the shelving you added? Thank you
Janice G. May 31, 2015
I only wish I had that type of space. I have a very small kitchen and would love to see someone to a make over on it. I just can't vision what to do!
K A. September 12, 2014
Great ideas! I love how uniform the spices look. Mine are a hodge podge of canisters...
Andrea May 25, 2014
My husband fashioned a rolling kitchen island for our vacation beach place out of a garage sale find Craftsman tool chest, painting it with shiny blue paint and topping it with a piece of butcher block. The narrow drawers are perfect "spice bleachers" and the others hold towels, utensils, etc. It's terrific.
Sally November 3, 2013
I read this whole post, and then I scrolled right back up to the top and scrolled again. So, so beautiful!
BLONDIE October 28, 2013
2 MANY COOKS IN your Kitchen?
BLONDIE October 28, 2013
Your Kitchen looks Normal kinda
AntoniaJames October 4, 2013
What does the Food52 cooking team use to keep handy the salt with which they cook, i.e.., that they reach into to grab a pinch whenever they need one? I have big (wide) hands, and have been on the hunt forever for a nice wide, not too deep vessel for storing my cooking salt while making it easily accessible while cooking. Do tell! Thanks so much. ;o)
Matt P. September 25, 2013
All of my goodies come from IKEA, CB2, and my parents basement!!!
cookinginvictoria September 25, 2013
Pull out trash and recycling containers take up a bit of real estate in our small-ish kitchen, but I too think that they are well worth the space. When working at the counter, there are no extra steps to get to the compost/trash bins, and with them stored behind a cabinet door, they are not visible when not in use.
AntoniaJames September 25, 2013
I read somewhere that efficiency (time/motion) studies of people working in kitchens demonstrate a large percentage of time and energy spent just throwing things away. I too have a miniature kitchen, with extremely limited cabinet and shelf space, and no place at all to put trash and food waste container in the kitchen itself, except under the sink. (My recycling is in an alcove 8 - 12 steps away from the kitchen.) I do everything I can to purchase food and other items in ways that don't involve any trash at all, which has helped a lot.
For food waste, which is all composted (taken away by the city in our green waste bins every week), I've solved the open cabinet/reach under/lift/drop in/close cabinet problem with the simplest and perhaps most obvious technique: I keep a few empty quart-capacity yogurt containers right under my primary prep work space (nested in my salad spinner -- everything is nested in my cabinets), which I take out when I start my prep work. I put all the bits of food waste in those until they're full, and then dump them into the relatively small composting bucket with swing top lid under the sink. Larger volume waste goes into the dish pan I keep in my sink for a variety of uses. It saves so much time!
You'd be amazed at how little trash we've accumulated every week since we started putting all compostable green waste, including egg cartons, the occasional paper towel, spent parchment paper, etc., in the kitchen waste container. Even if I had a pull-out trash drawer, I'd do it this way!

(The engineer in me loves it. See problem, solve problem.) ;o)
Cindy W. September 25, 2013
When we redesigned our kitchen, we made sure to add a cabinet with pull out trash cans. It seems like a small detail, but I love having the trash cans stored away from sight, yet still conveniently located. I also love the lazy susans we added in one of our cabinets for our pots and pans.
cookinginvictoria September 25, 2013
Great kitchen -- beautifully designed and very user friendly! Our house has a fairly small kitchen that could use some updating, so I am always daydreaming about ideal kitchens. My favorite design tips are under the counter drawers for pots and pans and lazy susans in corner cabinets so that hard-to-find items don't get buried in the back. I use one of my lazy susans to store small appliances that I don't have room for on the counter. My kitchen, from the 1940s, also features a custom built spice cabinet -- I believe it originally housed an ironing board. Having a spice cabinet is a great use of space. I can see all of my spices at a glance and it is big enough to house about 50 small jars/containers. I too really like many of the features of the food52 kitchen, especially the knife slit, the farmhouse sink, and the marble and walnut countertops.
MorePeanutButter September 24, 2013
If you're choosing counters etc, make extra sure the countertop is the right height for you, so you aren't hunched over in the one case, or tiring, maybe even hurting your shoulders in the other...true story. Also, don't wear slick shoes in the kitchen in case of water or other spills.
Randye H. September 22, 2013
The kitchen is the heart of one’s home because the bustle, delicious smells and warmth that emanates from a well-designed and much-used kitchen always attracts a crowd. But I find the thing that draws me most into someone else’s kitchen is when it reflects the personality of its owners. Sometimes that’s reflected in the type of cookbooks they collect or how a treasured family heirloom is displayed or how a favorite Le Creuset pan always lives on the stove. I have one friend whose kitchen is a sleek temple, perfectly organized with everything in its place and another whose countertops are littered with oils, vinegars, tins of rare salts and chipped jars filled with wooden spoons and whisks (and kids and dogs always underfoot). My best kitchen design tip is to let your personality shine through—whether that means an orderly slick workspace or using an old armoire for storage or letting a well-worn couch have pride of place. Don’t be afraid to ornament your kitchen with a favorite piece of art or use your grandmother’s old coffee grinder as a bookend. I love a kitchen most when it lets me know who cooks there.
Sipa September 20, 2013
Thanks for the tip about finding the old farmhouse sink on eBay. That's one place I never would have looked for something like a sink.
RyanMcAroni September 19, 2013
I really like the idea of having shelving for nicer items and large pull-out drawers for more storage. The colors in the Food52 kitchen are pretty amazing, so simple but so classy and everything just fits!
Rachel L. September 17, 2013
I am a collector of the past when it comes to beautiful kitchen items. I was lucky enough to know my Great Grand Mothers. I have some of their pieces that are used even now. Organizing what is important to you, keeping only that will help calm the clutter. I will have to say my toaster from the 40's and my mixer from the 50's are no longer safe, but are wonderful pieces of art. Who knew a pink mixer would come back in style?
Athena E. September 17, 2013
What you need is lots of cabinet space and lots of counter space.I would want a large island with space underneath and kitchen stools to sit on.I could see myself prepping there,but also relaxing and having a cup of coffee.I would like my large appliances concealed,built into the cabinetry.It makes the kitchen look uniform,stylish and organized.I would love to have enough cabinet and drawer space so that everything has a place and I don't have a counter full of appliances ,mugs and knives.I envision the cabinetry as French blue. Another must is that there should be a large window behind the sink,especially if you have a beautiful view .Another thing.Buy multi-function appliances and tools to save even more space.I focused this much on space b/c I live in NYC and's fairly rare here.
A few great places for plates, and Crate&Barrel.
LJ G. September 17, 2013
I love the idea of a knife slit in the counter, but I have granite tops, so it wouldn't work for me. I'm pondering the magnetic holder. As in the article, estate sales and flea markets can yield great finds as long as you are patient!