Cook’s Kitchen

At Home in Seattle with Chef Renee Erickson — Meet the Locals: Seattle

When Renee Erickson opened her first French-inspired restaurant in Seattle, Boat Street Café, she was barely out of college, winging it in a major way with the support of friends and family, but not much else. Fast forward a few decades, and she has become a cornerstone of Seattle's food scene, with a James Beard Award and heaping platefuls of national accolades.

Her restaurants — The Whale Wins, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Bateau, and Bar Melusine, plus the bar Barnacle and the doughnut shop General Porpoise — are musts for any food-inspired Seattle visitor. People come for the décor as much as the food. Always bright and airy, with pretty bold colors and whimsical touches, Renee's spots are an extension of her eye for design. (She was an art major, obviously.)


Judith Jones Makes an Omelet for One (to Share) — Kitchen Tour

Judith Jones, the cookbook editor best known for championing and publishing Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, died yesterday in her home in Warren, Vermont. But her reach goes far beyond Julia. In the culinary realm, she brought us Lidia Bastianich and Edna Lewis — and long before then, she played a critical role in getting Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl into bookstores and homes.

Today we look back on a visit to Judith Jones' tiny, but functional, New York Kitchen.

The first thing that happens when you walk into Judith Jones' kitchen, umbrella-less and rain-soaked as I was one recent afternoon, is you get a thorough knees-down licking from her Havanese puppy, Mabon. Then Judith offers you a warm kitchen towel from the rung of her Garland stove to dry off. It's an unusual welcome.

For my part, the entrance was anything but graceful. I self-consciously hunched over my rain boots, slipping them off, not taking my gaze off all the details of the room, and toppled over. How could I not? My eyes, like saucers, were busy scanning the French copper pots; peg boards straight from Julia Child; the apothecary of beans, grains, and spices; and the industrial stove visibly etched with history.


This Latin Television Host’s Miami Kitchen Has a Message for Us All — Bite-Sized Guide: Miami

Who: Ingrid Hoffmann, cookbook author and television host of Simply Delicioso and Top Chef Estrellas
Where: Miami, Florida

On television, Ingrid Hoffmann comes across as warm and energetic, with a real zest for mindful living and eating. In person, the host of Food Network's Simply Delicioso is just the same: an enthusiastic consumer of all that life and food have to offer. And the Latin chef's home is, likewise, every bit as vibrant as you'd expect — maybe even more so, thanks to the mega art installation adorning her dining room wall.

Bold, red letters by South African artist Brett Murray read: OPRAH SAYS LIVE LIFE DELICIOUSLY. It's a mantra she has always lived by and it fuels her passion for healthy cooking and food policy. As someone battling Lupus, Ingrid saw how changing her own diet improved her health. Now she's on a mission to help others learn how to eat better on the cheap.


You Have to See This Miami Chef’s Igloo-Shaped House — Bite-Sized Guide: Miami

Who: Eileen Andrade, chef & owner of Finka Table & Tap
Where: Miami, Florida

For Eileen Andrade, the chef and owner of Finka Table & Tap, cooking is in her DNA. Her grandparents, Raul and Amelia Garcia, who immigrated from Cuba in 1977, are the founders of Islas Canarias Restaurant, known for keeping the Magic City in supply of real-deal croquetas.

Eileen cut her teeth at her family's restaurant and bakery, making traditional empanadas, bocaditos, and pastelitos, while also studying traditional Peruvian cuisine and technique from the executive chef. By 2011, she was ready to step out on her own, opening the food truck CubanCube with her brother Jonathan; and a few years later, it was time to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Drawing heavily on her Cuban heritage, Finka Table & Tap puts a twist on traditional Latin food by incorporating Korean and Peruvian ingredients and techniques. "It wasn't easy to turn people on to kimchi, wakame, and shiso," she says. "But we have, and it's a great feeling."

Finka also takes pride in its fresh juices, homemade syrups, and craft cocktails — and, naturally, you can find her family's famous croquetas on the menu.


A Visit with the Miami Bread King in His Kitchen — Bite-Sized Guide: Miami

Who: Zak H. Stern and Batsheva Wulfsohn, the husband-and-wife team behind Zak the Baker; their daughters, 2-year-old Abigail and 4-month-old Maya Maybel.
Where: Surfside, Florida

Zak Stern is better known as Zak the Baker (also the name of his bakery in the Wynwood Arts District) and, for many, he has an even higher title: He is Miami's crowned king of bread.

Together with his wife, Batsheva, he has made Miami a serious baking destination, turning out loaves of sourdough, beautiful babkas, and braided challah from inside a purposefully understated oasis. The focus here is clearly on the craft of baking; it is a gleaming, industrial counterpoint to the visually loud neighborhood of bold, colorful street art.

Since opening five years ago, the bakery has grown from a one-man show out of a garage to a full-blown operation that is tended to 24 hours a day (since bread never sleeps). And just recently, the duo expanded their business to include a kosher Jewish deli, where the ever-changing menu might include kugel, sour borscht, or herring tartine.


A Visit with Two Badass New Orleans Chefs in Their Kitchen — Bite-Sized Guide: New Orleans

Who: Slade Rushing, executive chef at Brennan's, and Allison Vines-Rushing, chef at Port City
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing are kind of a big deal. In New Orleans, yes, but also in the greater food world.

The husband-and-wife team made a name for themselves at Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar in New York (now closed), then solidified their power couple status at MiLa in New Orleans (also closed). Allison earned a James Beard Award (Best Rising Chef of the Year) while at Jack's, and Slade was nominated for a Beard in his current role as the executive chef of Brennan's.

Now, if you live in New Orleans, you have almost certainly eaten at Brennan family restaurant. Ditto if you have ever visited New Orleans. And even if you have only thought about making the trip down to the Big Easy, chances are you have heard of a restaurant run by someone with a connection to the Brennan family.

The point is: Brennan is a name that means something in New Orleans. So being the executive chef of Brennan's, the original fine-dining establishment responsible for starting the empire (and inventing bananas foster!) really means something.


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