My wife, Katherine, and I fell in love with our Bedford, New York, home in spite of, not because of, the kitchen it came with. It was a galley affair, maybe six feet wide—the sort of space where a cook felt exiled. I don’t like to have walls separating me from my family or my guests when I cook, so I knocked them down and created a new, open space, absorbing what used to be a small dining room, a den, and a covered terrace that still has its curtain of wisteria. Our new kitchen is at least three times the size it was before, airy, and full of light.
I divide my week between my country house and my Manhattan apartment, which is directly above my flagship restaurant, Daniel. My city kitchen is sleek, with clean lines and lots of chrome, but I wanted my country kitchen a little softer, calling to mind a Provençal farmhouse. My wife and I designed it together, settling on cabinets in robin’s-egg blue, creamy quartz countertops, and a chandelier that drips with lemons, which we brought back from a flea market in the south of France. Cooking is also a joint effort in our household: Katherine usually handles breakfast and lunch, and then I’ll take care of dinner.
When we prepare meals, we all tend to congregate around the large central island, which we outfitted with a Dacor induction stove that feels a little safer than open flames with two young children around. But this is still a chef’s kitchen, so I also have my Dacor gas stove off to one side, which I use when I want to sear meat or fish over high heat. It has a built-in plancha, or griddle, which is fantastic for cooking seafood; this is also where I prepare a family favorite we call “submarine eggs”—a slice of buttered brioche with a circle cut out of it, framing a fried egg. My children adore this dish.
Now that we have a kitchen we’re happy with, I’m turning my sights to the garden. Whether we are entertaining or just cooking for ourselves, our menus tend to revolve around fresh, seasonal vegetables. For now, we get most of them from the excellent farmers’ market at the John Jay Homestead in Katonah, New York, but eventually I’d like to cook more from our own harvest. We’ve made a modest start already, planting herbs, strawberries, and a pumpkin patch, but I have plans for raised beds, where I’ll grow zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans. We’re also in talks with a beekeeper, who is guiding us through the process of setting up our own hive; with any luck, we’ll soon have our own honey too.
This story originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of ELLE Decor. SUBSCRIBE
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