Who: Joy Wilson, otherwise known as Joy the Baker
Where: Venice Beach, California
Today on The Kitchn we are joined by a special guest, Joy the Baker! After years of following her blog, laughing at her podcast (co-hosted with Tracy Benjamin), and devouring her last cookbook, I had the privilege of touring her approachable and exceedingly organized kitchen in Venice Beach, California. Guys, this is where all that butter, sugar, flour, magic and alchemy happens!
Joy has lived in this Venice Beach bungalow for about four years, and her kitchen is as small as it is functional and organized. One thing I noticed right away is her lack of clutter. Joy is working on her second cookbook (coming out fall of 2014) right now, so there are a few baskets of rented plates and table linens, but those items are really the only things not neatly tucked into a labeled jar or stored in their appointed drawer. The rest of the kitchen is streamlined and edited. (Although she says she's not that organized, it didn't look that way to me!) Clearly Joy is an artist, and her kitchen is her well-oiled studio where she can practice her buttery craft on a daily basis.
Something crazy was going on in this kitchen, too: Joy's oven is tiny! It fits one half sheet pan in at a time. So all those cookies, pies, and cakes she whips up that we drool over on her blog? They're made in there, in batches of six or so cookies at a time or one layer of the cake at a time. Joy baked hundreds of cookies for charity at an event last spring and they took her a while. That's dedication, y'all. Joy's spirit is can-do and move forward. I love that about her blogging and podcasting style, and her kitchen — petite oven and all — echoes this same sentiment. Can't wait to see what Joy dreams up next for us eaters in her upcoming cookbook!
10 Questions for Joy (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Cold butter, brown sugar, and creatively keeping food away from my cat.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Salt. It's a kitchen tool.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
I've made two cookbooks in this tiny space.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
My refrigerator is pint-sized. It basically holds condiments, a few eggs and cream for coffee. I had to get used to the idea of going to the grocery everyday for what I need that day. I enjoy the trip now that I'm accustomed to it!
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
My kitchen is so small, the drawers are messy and lived in, and don't even talk to me about the tiny oven. Even still, I'm never leaving it.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
My KitchenAid mixer feels like a treat every time I use it.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
I could always be more organized... but I'm not.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Big. Baked. Unapologetic.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Ingredients can smell your fear. Just go all in (and have a bowl of cold water ready for when you get hot sugar on your hands).
10. What are you cooking this week?
I'm retesting and shooting the second cookbook this week. I'm making Strawberry Ginger Crumble, Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies, Pistachio Frozen Yogurt, Buttermilk Pie, and Cookie Dough Balls. Please come over. This is a cry for help.
Resources of Note:
- KitchenAid mixer
- Pots and pans from Le Crueset, Lodge, and gifts from friends
- Pottery/dinnerware from West Elm, IKEA, and vintage finds
Thank you so much for letting us peek into your kitchen!
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(Images: Leela Cyd)