Who cooks and eats here: Chef Charlie Marshall of The Marshal
Where: Manhattan, New York
Chef Charlie's mantra — do more with less — is nowhere more evident than in his tiny New York City kitchen. Space constraints are a reality for most New Yorkers, and it's no different for Charlie. He has very little countertop space, and no dishwasher — quite a different setup than at his Hell's Kitchen restaurant, The Marshal. But if a pro chef can do it, there's hope for us all.
Here's a peek into how a pro chef sets up, organizes, and cooks in his tiny home kitchen.
On cooking and cleaning up in a small kitchen
"My kitchen setup is largely a result of the space I have in a small New York City apartment. This does impact the way I cook at home," says Charlie. "Cooking in a tight space means being clean, and trying to keep recipes at home from being unnecessarily complicated."
Not surprisingly, the biggest issue for Charlie is finding space to cook, which for him means one thing: cleaning as much as he cooks. "I have no dishwasher in my Manhattan apartment, so I am constantly washing dishes," he says. "As soon as I have a second, I am cleaning up whatever mess I just made. This not only helps keep my kitchen clear and usable, but it also makes my volunteer dishwasher guests happy at the end of the meal. Over time this becomes a habit so that one’s kitchen cleanliness is never three steps behind the chef."
"So many people leave themselves a huge mess at the end," he continues, "which is such a pain to tackle after cooking an entire meal, eating it, hosting, etc. A little extra work all the way through is worth little to no clean-up after the meal!"
On finding adequate storage
What little cabinets Charlie has in his kitchen are neatly arranged. When you don't have space for everything, you're forced to pare down your kitchen tools to the essentials — your most-used pots and pans, favorite ingredients, and enough plates and glasses to host friends for brunch — and then put them wherever you have room, even if it means going out of the kitchen!
Yes, even chefs aren't above storage problems: "I actually keep extra dishes in my bedroom closets," Charlie says.
One thing he'll always find room for, though, is his spice collection, a major indulgence. "Everything from beet powder to local sea salt to long pepper — anything new and weird and I want to try it out!" he says.
On the most memorable meal cooked in this kitchen
Charlie describes his cooking style as "simple, creative, about the ingredients, and often based on roasting." While he tries to keep his recipes simple when he cooks at home (it's just easier that way when you have a small kitchen), every once in a while he goes all out, like cooking a Christmas goose and compound-fat oysters for 10 friends.
"I did it the year before last and it was a huge hit. The goose came out perfectly, and I think the reason I enjoyed cooking it so much was because no one at the dinner had ever had goose before! It turned into a festive night of wine, roasted oysters, goose, and caroling, and is still hands-down my favorite night in my kitchen."
Thanks for sharing your kitchen with us, Charlie!
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