Mike, his partner, and their 8 year old son live in a penthouse that was added to the top of a large Manhattan apartment building 80 years after its original construction. Because Mike bought the apartment while it was under construction, he was able to influence the kitchen's design.
The kitchen is circa 1988 but remains in great shape to this day. There is a consistent disco influence in the kitchen as well as throughout the house. Black lacquer is a favorite. While the kitchen is very small and was created without a child in mind, Mike likes the kitchen and is happy to cook many a family meal there.
Mike's cooking is rapid and efficient. While he enjoys preparing a traditional meal, he's also quite happy with a direct protein-delivery approach. For example, Mike loves vegan muffins with peanut butter, and he is dedicated to his daily smoothie.
To complement all the food New York City might provide, Mike and his partner have a wondrous vegetable and herb garden in stepped planting boxes on the building's rooftop open space — otherwise known as his family's backyard!
Mike's Answers to the Kitchn Questionnaire
What's your cooking style?
I love to make things up as I go along — never following any recipe. I start with a piece of chicken, or a steak and keep adding things that sound tasty to me at the time (maple syrup, thyme from my roof terrace, tamari, apple and pear vinegars. I love mixing sweet and salty. It always comes out great.
What inspires your kitchen?
Ethnic kitchens always inspire me — tastes from my travels, seasonal flavors.
What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
I love a good cheap skillet. I basically pan fry or sauté everything and the cheaper the pan the better it turns out.
Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Trust your Instincts. When you're confident, it will taste good.
Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Investing the time in cooking. With limited time, it's so easy to just order in.
Fruit. I eat pounds of fruit every day. My blood is basically sugar at this point.
Dream tool or splurge:
A high powered professional stove that I rig to vent outside.
What are you cooking this week?
Well,l I always make one of my famous smoothies: bananas, blueberries, mangoes, fat-free Greek yogurt, soy milk, whey protein and a little granola. Heaven.
What cookbook has inspired you the most?
My mom's ad hoc recipes.
What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Thanksgiving. My signature fall/winter and Thanksgiving dish is roasted root vegetables. Turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and squash. Slooooow roasted in butter, olive oil, fleur de sel, and real maple syrup. I could live on it.
• Jenn Air black glass mirrored double fridge — the disco fridge.
• KitchenAid mixer.
• Blue Pearl granite — hides everything.
• Kitchen Tour Archive: Check out past kitchen tours here
(Images: Jill Slater)