Claire Cottrell wears many hats gracefully: she has a background in landscape architecture, freelances as a multimedia director, and owns the online art bookshop BOOK STAND. Lucky for us one more item to add to her lengthy list of talents and interests is cooking in her adorable Silver Lake, Los Angeles kitchen! It's small, efficient, and well-stocked with handmade pottery.
Claire recently moved into this apartment, tucked into the hillside of Silver Lake, Los Angeles. She decided on this particular unit because of its private garden lot. (She and a friend are hoping to plant a field of wildflowers to gaze upon while sitting outside on the deck.) When relaxing back here, one does feel transported to another world, time and place; it's very secluded with great views of the hills, birds chirping away and large trees in every yard. This outdoor area is where Claire entertains, and it informs her way of living, eating and cooking.
Many of Claire's ceramics are made by local artists and friends. The size of her kitchen is largely influenced what she brings into it. Because it's a small space, Claire keeps only the best, longest-lasting pieces that fit comfortably into a few cabinets. This way of living is so inspirational, especially for those of us who also live and cook in small kitchens.
8 Questions for Claire Cottrell (and Her Kitchen)
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
The donabe pot, hands down. It cooks noodles on the bottom and steams veggies or fish to perfection on the top. And, it's beautiful.
3. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
4. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
It's a tie between my Vitamix and way too many little ceramic bowls.
5. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Drawer dividers and extra shelves. Smart storage is the only way to make a small space work.
6. How would you describe your cooking style?
Farm to table meets Washoku meets whatever's in the fridge.
7. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Frying kale in coconut oil. Incredible! It will change your life! Best salad, sandwich or rice bowl addition ever.
8. What are you cooking this week?
I'm all about heirloom Kokuho brown rice right now. I add whatever vegetables or protein I have on hand and then either Cookbook's pickled beets or Erewhon's kimchee, toasted nori and a handful of sesame seeds. It's the best balanced easy meal.
Resources of Note:
- Pottery/ceramics: Heath Ceramics, Victoria Morris, Ben Medansky, Matt Merkel-hess, Emile Henry
- Watercolor mugs: Peter Shire
- Pet rocks: Hazel Stark
- Blue mugs: Ben Medansky
- Pots/pans: Toiro Donabe Pots, white terra cotta tagine from Morocco, Le Creuset
- Fridge: Frigidaire
- Stove: Magic Chef
- Table/stools: My friend Shin Okuda of WAKA WAKA and I designed them.
- Assorted chopsticks from Japan
Thank you so much Claire for letting us peek into your kitchen!
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(Images: Leela Cyd)