Who cooks and eats here: Peter Hoffman, his wife Susan, and their teenage daughter
Where: West Village, New York
Rent or Own? Own
Decades before most people had ever heard the term "farm to table," chef Peter Hoffman was shopping at New York's farmers markets and biking its fresh produce back to to his restaurants, Savoy (now closed) and Back Forty/Back Forty West. He and his wife, Susan (a very talented potter, as well as maker of many of the crafted elements in Peter's restaurants) have lived in a storefront apartment in Manhattan for 14 years. Their kitchen isn't fancy, but it's functional, lively, and overflowing with all the wonderful mess of things you'd need for a life of cooking and entertaining.
The building Peter and Susan live in was full of artists when they moved in, and it lacked a few basic lacked amenities, including a kitchen! Luckily, their contractor was able to wrangle a salvaged kitchen from another renovation, and so created the open kitchen they've now cooked in for the last 14 years. Over the years Peter has added a few great cooking tools and high-end cookware pieces befitting a chef of his caliber, but otherwise, the kitchen remains a humble, hardworking space.
However, there are a few fun details to note, like the vintage pencil sharpener installed on the edge of the countertop, and the large market baskets below the prep island used to store root vegetables. (Great idea.) And all around you'll find Susan's beautiful pottery, both lining the dining table (which was originally a sliding door at Peter's Savoy restaurant!) and the walls.
10 Questions for Peter and Susan (and Their Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Shopping at the farmers market and building menus in the moment from seeing what's at peak ripeness. I always ask myself "How do I want to eat today?"
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
My sharp small 6" chef's knife.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
A roasted guinea hen with cranberry beans, end-of-season tomatoes, parsley and roasted fennel served with a bottle of Farnum Hill Cider, followed by my wife's hand-pulled heirloom apple strudel.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Open counter space.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Made a wide and deep prep space next to the stove.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
My Sitram copper bottomed stainless steel rondeau.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
I have always wanted a high and shallow sink for easy washing of vegetables.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Improvisational market cooking with my heart in the flavors of the Mediterranean.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
ALWAYS let roasted meat rest at least 15 minutes before slicing into it.
10. What are you cooking this week?
Soup with the carcass from last night's guinea hen, fire roasted eggplant (probably for the last time this year) and more roasted romanesco cauliflowers because they are so delicious.
Resources of Note:
- Our pots are a wonderful mixture of Griswold cast-iron, Le Creuset, All-Clad and Sitram. Stove and fridge are not high-end or fancy but are hard working.
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(Image credits: Jill Slater)