Visiting his house today, it's hard to believe that he undertook this massive project almost 15 years ago. The kitchen, in particular, is very expressive. Like Zachary, it's creative, quirky, and way ahead of its time...and yet there is something very down to earth happening here, too. This is a kitchen that is truly used and loved and appreciated everyday.
After several years away in Boston and Italy, Zachary and his wife, Marsha Platt, returned to their North Beach neighborhood with their two young daughters, Corona and Milena. When Zachary first remodeled his house, he didn't necessarily have a family of four in mind. But, it turns out, they all fit rather well and the kitchen serves its classic role as the primary place for everyone to gather.
Here's our kitchen tour questionnaire -- with the whole family pitching in with answers!
Corona: The Squeez-inart!
Marsha: The media center for looking up recipes.
Everyone: The Nespresso aeroccino milk frother.
Best cooking advice or tip you’ve received?
Zachary: Don’t be afraid of spices...and if you love to eat, then you have to love to cook.
Marsha: Edward Espe Brown’s quote about when you cut the vegetables, just cut the vegetables. Nothing extra.
What is the biggest challenge in your kitchen?
M: Not enough storage and the fact that we can’t have more then 3 or 4 people at a time over to dinner.
Marsha: The classic Chez Panisse mantra: good ingredients cooked simply.
Zachary: Make it up as you go along with whatever’s around, mad scientist-style. In Italy I learned how simple good food can be. I was also influenced growing up by my Japanophile father and later the Mexican, Thai and Italian food in San Francisco.
Triple cream cheese and the Nespresso set up.
The most whimsical thing in your kitchen?
The blue sink.
What’s always in your pantry?
Z: Rice, olive oil, tofu. I used to cook a lot with sherry but lately I’ve replaced it with balsamic vinegar. It’s got the same sweetness but with more intense flavors.
Z: Trader Joe’s. And Whole Foods because of the Wall of Broccoli. I feel very fulfilled by the Wall of Broccoli.
Desert Island Cookbook?
M: I would print out or clip all my favorite recipes and put them in a binder.
M: Meat, veg and starch combo--very classic. I grew up in LA, so I was exposed to Mexican food pretty early on. But our favorite place to eat was an old diner on Peco called The Apple Pan. It’s the restaurant where if everybody ate there, there would be world peace.