Kimberley lives in a rented home with a humble kitchen on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. She doesn't let an ordinary space keep her from making extraordinary food on her colorful cooking blog, The Year in Food. Join me for a peek into this food blogger's kitchen so we can collectively marvel at all the props and trimmings she uses to create beautiful images of food.
Kimberley's kitchen has all the hallmarks of an imperfect rental kitchen — faux wood cabinetry, white walls and unglamorous appliances. Kimberley takes what she's got and works with it quite well; dotting the space with fresh flowers, handmade artwork and of course, a bevy of fabrics, plates and utensils to bring her recipes to life. Kimberley writes about and photographs food for a myriad of clients, including Edible SF (she just shot the cover!), Bon Appetit and Etsy. So it's interesting to note that beautiful, colorful food comes from such an ordinary space.
Kimberley's approach to cooking is to focus on the freshest, most vibrant seasonal produce and dress it minimally with ingredients from her well–stocked pantry. This food blogger is lucky to live in San Francisco, California where locally–grown fruits and vegetables are available year round. Kimberley frequents the small groceries, farmer's markets, nearby thrift shops and design stores to source all the food and photography props she needs. Kimberley shows us you don't need a dreamy, perfect kitchen to create healthful, beautiful meals.
• Visit Kimberley's Food Blog: The Year in Food
10 Questions for Kimberley (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
I'm equally inspired by seasonal produce and my favorite cookbooks, which right now are Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and Tender by Nigel Slater. Those are usually my starting points. But I also devour food magazines: Bon Appetit, everything Martha Stewart, Saveur.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
I have always been very fond of my Wusthof knife. I'd say that an immersion blender is my second favorite.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Tough question! There have been a lot of dinner parties and feasts here over the years. Thanksgiving, a Winter Solstice dinner and a couple intimate birthday dinners are standouts, both because they brought together a whole bunch of my favorite people around food, which always makes me happy, and because there is something really gratifying in sitting down to a huge meal after investing so much effort in pulling it together.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
The fact that it's a rental and there's very little that we can do to improve, from a structural standpoint. I'm dying to paint the cabinets but our landlord is stubborn. Also, the windows are north-facing and get very little light, so there is almost always a light on in there.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
(Sadly not applicable.)
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
I have developed a weakness for gorgeous ceramics lately, especially because I can justify their purchase by putting them to good use in my photography.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Painting the cabinets! I keep hoping that if I approach it from a certain angle, the landlord will consent. I'd love to replace the counters with butcher block countertops.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Fresh, seasonal and creative.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Another toughie! Once I began to finally keep my knives sharp, life in the kitchen changed. It's the kind of basic kitchen knowledge that should be a given but sometimes isn't taken to heart.
10. What are you cooking this week?
A pasta dish with parsley pesto and preserved lemons, a breakfast porridge of amaranth and pumpkin butter inspired by My New Roots, and I've been hankering for some kind of quickbread.
• Stove/oven: nothing special!
• Pots and pans: My favorite pans are cast iron; they were found on thrift store adventures in Idaho. I also have a Martha Stewart Dutch oven that I use for all kinds of slow–cooked goodness.
• I have a really eclectic collection — mostly because I'll just buy one or two of an item for shoots. I get a lot of them thrifting, but have lately been really fond of a couple ceramics shops on Etsy: Suite One Studio and Villareal Ceramics.
• Other notable resources: I'm really, really fond of Pot and Pantry. Donna has a gorgeously curated selection of kitchen goods. And our local cooking-centric bookshop, Omnivore Books. They're both fabulous places.
• Visit Kimberley's Food Blog: The Year in Food
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Show us your kitchen here!
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)