Kitchen Tour: Chef Laurent Tourondel's Country Kitchen

I recently spent a morning with Chef Laurent Tourondel, creator of the popular BLT Restaurants, in his country house kitchen on Long Island. A gaggle of French relatives plus Laurent's girlfriend and her family had descended for a holiday weekend so the house was full of energy. Pancakes, from Laurent's book, Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel (Wiley) were on the menu. The pleasures of this visit were many: I not only got to open the cabinets and drawers of a famous chef, but I got to have the best pancakes of my life.

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Upon entering this house, it is immediately apparent that nothing here is too precious, and everything is well-used and loved. It is a gathering place, and this day was no exception. Chef Tourondel moved in a few years ago, did a little bit of work on the kitchen to brighten it up, mostly with white cabinets and a bunch of great eBay finds.

His pride and joy in the kitchen is the "beach blue" (officially Provence Blue) La Cornue stove. It is one of the few things I asked about that did not come from eBay. "I think eBay is a good way of not moving out of your house, but still spending your money," Tourondel said.

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The rest of the kitchen is simple and minimal, with open shelving, only as many plates as he needs, and dry goods in antique French jars.

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The bounty of the east end of Long Island's local farms was part of the inspiration of Chef Tourondel's latest cookbook, Fresh From the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel. Though he is probably best known for his famous burger, he prepared for me the best pancakes I'd ever had.

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I was struck by his tiny two-drawer Sub Zero refrigerator freezer. "I don't spend much time here at a stretch, so it's efficient."

When I asked about decisions like the bluestone countertops and if his contractor sourced the materials. His response was, with his best French Chef confidence, "No contractor! I was the contractor!" It is apparent, in all the best ways.

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Maine Blueberry Pancakes with Orange Blossom Maple Syrup
adapted from Laurent Tourondel
Serves 6

Syrup
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Pancakes
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled + 3 tablespoons, softened for cooking
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Maine blueberries

Whisk the maple syrup and orange blossom water in a small bowl to blend. Place over a small pan of simmering water to warm.

Whisk the milk, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl to blend. Slowly whisk in the melted butter, making sure not to cook the eggs. Whisk the our, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the egg mixture into the our until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or the batter will break.

Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium heat and brush the surface with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Using 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, ladle the batter onto the griddle. Cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle some of the blueberries evenly over the pancakes, then ip the pancakes over.

Cook until the pancakes are brown on the bottom and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter, batter, and blueberries.

Serve immediately with the warm orange blossom maple syrup on the side.

Good Links for Laurent Tourondel:

Fresh From the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel (Amazon, $23.10)
LT Burger
BLT Market

Related: Rachel Saunders's Retro Kitchen

Thank you so much for sharing your kitchen with us, Laurent!
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(Tour images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

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