Who cooks and eats here: Amy and Christian
Where: Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, New York
Rent or Own? Own
This is Amy and Christian's first kitchen together. They were married a few years ago and compromised on a neighborhood in Brooklyn that would work for both of them. The kitchen has been renovated to perfection, and while it was mostly an 'Amy project' they both enjoy it to its fullest!
Amy and Christian are both organized and tidy people, and they keep the kitchen pretty organized so it encourages them to prepare meals at home. They eat breakfast together, eat most dinners at home, and take dinner leftovers to work for lunch. And they both like to bake as well! Together they enjoy exploring various world cuisines via recipes discovered online.
What I loved being witness to was Amy preparing dinner in her onion goggles! In order to chop onions, she dons a pair of wrap around goggles and gets to it. No tears, no suffering. Just smiles!! Since these are an off-the-shelf product, they clearly serve a larger market.
To create this kitchen, among many other rather extensive research efforts, Amy gathered 40 tile samples and lived with them for a while before going with white subway tiles. She was meticulous about the renovation and the process paid off. It's a pleasure to take in and very user friendly.
10 Questions for Amy (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Reading cookbooks and recipes are my inspiration. I read cookbooks like they are novels — from front to back as soon as I get them. If there is a recipe with lots of ingredients and steps I want to tackle it, especially different ethnic recipes. We have a lot of spices on hand and can pretty much cook any recipe we find. I love to teach myself baking techniques. I have the Culinary Institute baking techniques textbook and Christian calls it my bible. When I first got it I read it every night before I went to bed.
Christian gets inspired to cook once in a while, usually to cook Malaysian food. I love when he cooks because it means that he really wants to.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Onion goggles. My eyes are very sensitive and I could not cut onions without them.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
I have had a few big parties but hosting brunch for my mom’s 60th birthday was the most memorable. It was the first time we used the space for entertaining after the completion of the kitchen renovation. We had 30 people over for brunch. I did all the cooking myself. Menu included: eggs cooked in tomato cups with romaine pesto, eggs cooked in pancetta cups, herb baked salmon, boozy baked French toast, watermelon, feta and arugula salad and roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary. My aunt made the birthday cake.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Keeping the marble countertops in good shape. I used to be a lot better about it but I have relaxed as time has gone on. I knew marble would be a challenge, but I have never regretted it. I love the look.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish we had two ovens. It would make a very big difference for entertaining. At the time of the renovation it felt like a luxury for a small Brooklyn apartment but we would have put it to good use.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
We changed the location of the location of the sink. It used to be directly next to the stove which eliminated all prep space. It cost over $1,000 but it was definitely worth it.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
We may buy a rug for the floor to bring in some color.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Spontaneous. I often see a recipe online or in a magazine and leave the house immediately to buy the ingredients and make it.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Get a meat thermometer. After being a vegetarian for 15 years I still have yet to know when meat is ready without one.
10. What are you cooking this week?
Malaysian fish stew, strawberry sorbet, conchas (Mexican sweet bread), fig challah, and something from my new cookbook Aromas and Aleppo which was a surprise gift I got yesterday.
Resources of Note:
- Olympic gray marble countertops from ABC Worldwide Stone in Williambsurg, Brooklyn
- Faucet: Moen 75946C One Handle Kitchen Pulldown Faucet
- Lighting: Sonneman Saturn Flush Mount Ceiling Light and Highhats from Elite Model: B1420
- Shelves and glass jars are from IKEA
- High stools: Design Within Reach
- Plant pots: IKEA
- Window Shade: DIY – Glued fabric to a shade bought from Home Depot
- Glass jars: mostly IKEA
- Cake plate: Crate and Barrel
- Long white baguette plate: Kerekes Bakery and Restaurant Equipment, Brooklyn
- Fruit bowl: West Elm
Thank you so much for letting us peek into your kitchen!
Share your own kitchen renovation or improvement!
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Show us your kitchen here!
(Images: Jill Slater)