Kitchen Tour: Debbie's Subversive Traditional Comfort

Debbie has lived in the very urban and once-upon-a-time gritty neighborhood of Chelsea for 16 years. She's an accomplished graphic designer with a penchant for both cutting edge art and "traditional comfort food."

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Eight years ago, after living with a piecemeal and rather dysfunctional kitchen, Debbie decided she deserved modern conveniences and a material overhaul. She sold a collection of 70's memorabilia amassed over a couple of decades and was able to pay for the full gut renovation of her kitchen.

While Debbie took a very traditional route in her kitchen renovation, she manages to stir things up with great design interventions. In various corners of her cherry wood enclave sit utilitarian pieces posing as art.

Debbie enjoys cooking for a big dinner party with rented tables arranged "pilgrim style" as much as she likes preparing a meal for one and eating it in bed in front of the TV. During my visit, it was a combination of the two in that I was treated to a lavish buffet for one! It was like being invited to a party in which everyone else forgot to show up. As you will see in the slideshow, Debbie spared no expense or level of formality anticipating my arrival.

Debbie's Kitchn Survey Results:

What's your cooking style? Unstructured and eclectic. I like to improvise the recipes that I use, and add something new or unexpected. Once, when making a Béarnaise sauce, I substituted Balsamic vinegar for the recommended white wine vinegar. It gave the sauce a wonderful kick and a gorgeous mustardy yellow color. I haven’t used anything else since!

What inspires your kitchen? Anything that will allow me to work more effectively with less space!

What is your favorite kitchen tool or element? My M&Co. kitchen clock designed by the late, great Tibor Kalman.

Best cooking advice or tip you ever received: Measure your coffee before you make it, and use a timer when baking. Works every time!

Biggest challenge in your kitchen: The space! It is teeny-tiny. I can’t have the fridge door opened and the stove door or dishwasher at the same time!

Biggest indulgence: My giant Blanco sink. Work every penny!

Dream tool or splurge: I fantasize about a giant Viking Stove. All that room! All that glory!

What are you cooking this week? I am in a ramp craze. April is ramp month for me. Yesterday I went to the Union Square Farmers market and bought 3 gorgeous bunches and made the most exquisite pasta dish—ramps with olive oil and pepper and truffle salt over perciatelli. It was phenomenal.

But the following traditional comfort dishes hold a special place in my heart and are on the heavy rotation in my kitchen:
Chicken soup with thick chunks of chicken and barley and dill
Pot roast simmered in a bit of orange juice (recipe stolen from my best friend's mom)
Chicken cacciatore (mmmmmmm)
Roasted chicken stuffed with lemons and garlic
Leg of lamb smothered in rosemary and garlic and black pepper

What cookbook has inspired you the most? The Joy Of Cooking—but the old one, not the reissue! I like the older version much, much better.

What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen? I cooked a formal, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner for 30. I cleared everything off of the counters and worked for three days preparing. I had so much fun.

Resources:

    • Frigidaire Gallery Pro-Series Refrigerator and Dishwasher
    • 24” Premier Pro-Series Stove
    • Blanco sink
    • Barber Wilson Faucet
    • Kraft Maid Cabinetry
    • Waterworks 1x1” white tiles for the backsplash
    • Sharp Microwave
    • Cuisinart Coffee Maker
    • Celador 24x24” beige terrazzo-like tiles from Stone Source
    • Granite Countertops

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Stay tuned for a full tour on Apartmenttherapy.com.

• Kitchen Tour Archive: Check out past kitchen tours here.

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(Images: Jill Slater)

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