Category: Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories by readers, writers and anyone that want to share their story with lafoodsitter.

Jessie Sheehan

Jessie Sheehan

“Granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt! Not very sexy, but true.”

American bakery is one of my favorites ever. Cookies, brownies, muffins, colorful cakes, icing sugar, confettis, sprinkles…you name it.
These days on Instagram you can find an infinite number of “bakers” profile but some few can distinguish themselves from the crowd.

grid of Alice Gao photos from The Vintage Baker

“Peeps” let me introduce you to a lady I cherish tones for her flair, the sense of humor and wittiness which she manages her account and of course her baking skills!
New Yorker, a Brooklyn resident since ever, mother of two, plenty of writing collaborations with important publishing and web name, her blog and two books, one of them, The Vintage Baker, which just came out and she is pretty busy baking cookies to take them on promo events. I just bought mine on Amazon (link on title) also available on bookstores in USA.
Meet Jessie Sheehan. And take my words for it, after reading her “Kitchen stories” go straight to Instagram and click “Follow”.

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
I love my kitchen and it is the room in which I spend most of my time. It has a lot of light – which is great for photographing my sweets – and a lot of counter space for working. I have an induction cooktop, which offers the cook a lot of control and an even heat. And I have a convection oven which I love for the perfectly browned color it gives my baked goods. My kitchen is a “galley” kitchen, meaning there is a narrow(ish) passageway between two walls of counters and cabinets and appliances. One has easy access to everything one needs at all times in such a kitchen, and I am crazy about mine.

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I am a morning person and love to bake and work in the early hours of the day. I love the light at that time of day and the quiet. I often have a long laundry list of things that need to get accomplished – between baking and photographing and writing – and so I like to start early.

Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?
I am a rule-follower, which is why I am drawn to baking. When you bake you really must follow the recipe – you cannot add extra flour or remove the leavening, the way you can leave out a spice or use a different kind of citrus in a savory dish. However, I also love being creative with my baking when I am developing a recipe (ie: not following someone’ else’s). I love adding new flavors and spices, some nuts, or coconut for texture, milk chocolate perhaps, rather than dark, etc. etc.

The Vintage Baker Cover

Three ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?
Granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt! Not very sexy, but true.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
I did not grow up in a house of home-baked goodies. On the contrary, both my parents worked, but because I had a big sweet tooth, as did my brother, there were always lots of packaged sweets. But as I got older and realized that the one thing I loved more than anything (maybe even my own children) was eating, and sometimes even making, sweets, I decided to learn just how to do that. I went to a bakery in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I live, and asked if they would teach me what they knew, and the rest is history.

What’s your favorite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?
Hmm, well I would never say “never,” as I still make mistakes all the time! But lately I have been baking the butterscotch potato chip balls (a cookie from my new cookbook, The Vintage Baker) a lot, for many of the events I am doing to launch my book, and I think I could almost make them with my eyes closed now.

Butterscotch Potato Chip Balls

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew in your kitchen?
Of course! Would love to share what I do with as many people as possible! And I love TV.

Do you follow any tv show or have a favorite cooking book?
I really love podcasts and listen to a lot of food related ones, like Bon Appetit’s, Serious Eats’, and Cherry Bonmbe’s. My favorite cookbook, is probably one of Ina Garten’s or the Baking Bible from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated.

Jessie Sheehan is a baker, food writer and recipe developer. She is the author of The Vintage Baker (Chronicle Books May 2018) and the co-author of Icebox Cakes (Chronicle Books) and has developed recipes for many cookbooks, besides her own. She has contributed recipes/and or written for epicurious, Fine Cooking, TASTE, food52, and Main Street Magazine, among others. She blogs at jessiesheehanbakes.com and is the FeedFeed editor for the Brown Sugar and Icebox Cakes feeds. She likes layer cakes with lots of frosting and cookies that are thick and chewy. Oh, and she has a soft spot for chocolate pudding. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with her husband and two boys, not far from her beloved Baked, the bakery where she got her start.

Icedbox cakes

Icedbox cakes is Jessie’s first book also available on Amazon.

Harley Langberg

Harley and his work

I love cooking in the morning as I’m a morning person

I came about Harley’s work a few years back in early 2015 while scrolling around Instagram. It was “love at first post”! I love his touch when using the ingredients, choices of pieces, influences and how original years down the line his work still is. Proud to see his changes in creation but I can’t deny my favorite ones will always be the ones with candies and oreos!Harley Oreo Coliseum
One special moment was to see a Picasso piece Harley recreated and Met Museum reposted it!

Harley Food Art recreation of Picasso's "Au Lapin Agile"

Harley Food Art recreation of Picasso’s “Au Lapin Agile”

Another quality of Harley’s account is his genuine being in touch with his 36+K followers. Always with a kind word of reply if you leave a comment. And that was how our contact begun. Let’s say we are the real deal of virtual friends.
Proud too to see him hapilly married to his bestfriend Zach.

Harley and ZachI can’t wait to meet them in person if not here in Italy back in the US and of course get one priting (or maybe two or three!) to put it in my kitchen wall.

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
Very very important! As a food artist and amateur chef, I am in the kitchen at least once a day and it is my favorite part of the apartment!

harley kitchen

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I love cooking in the morning as I’m a morning person making a delicious breakfast but I also do love cooking during the day and early evening as well.

Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?
I love to take recipes and adapt them to make them my own and I always usually put a healthy spin on the recipe. Sometimes I’ll substitute ingredients or omit certain unhealthy ingredients.

Three ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?
Extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
It came about when I was young and I had people around me who loved to cook like my babysitter and family friends. Ever since I was little I had such a fascination with the cooking process and still do today!

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you kow it can never go wrong with it?
My favorite dish to make is a recipe I adapted from Food & Wine Magazine where I create my own whole wheat pizza dough, roll it really thin and top it with thinly sliced eggplant, garlic, fresh ground pepper, homemade pesto, and parmesan cheese. It’s more of a flatbread than a pizza and it’s absolutely delicious! I try to make it once a month.

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew in your kitchen?
I’m not the best on camera but I don’t think I could turn down an opprotutniy like that!

Do you follow any tv show or have a favourite cooking book?
My two favorite tv shows are MasterChef Junior (those kids are just so adorable and talented) and also Chopped (love seeing the creativity that goes into making delicious dishes using odd combinations of ingredients). As for cooking books, I love the Gumbo Shop cooking book which is a popular gumbo restaurant in New Orleans.

Harley Langberg Having been born and raised in NYC, Harley Langberg early on found a passion for both art and food. During high school, he spent a summer at The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College and the summer after worked in the pastry kitchen of the world-renowned Lacorix at the Rittenhouse. While the culinary world and his passion for cooking was always important to him, Harley decided to attend Northwestern University where he studied Economics and Chinese. While at Northwestern, he continued to invest his spare time in cooking, working in the local pastry kitchens in Evanston, IL, writing a weekly cooking column in the school newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, and teaching his fellow students how to cook during private and public cooking lessons and demonstrations. Since graduating from Northwestern in 2010 he has been working in sales and operations for a NYC-based company, yet always had the urge to find a creative outlet that best suited him. One day while in Chelsea Market, he discovered an exhibition of a food artist and was completely fascinated by this new form of art which he had never seen before. That night, he went home and created his first food art piece, and from that point on had been hooked and unexpectedly developed a new talent, food art. Since plating that first piece in October of 2013, he has created hundreds of food art pieces, worked with a number of prominent brands including The Food Network, Chili’s, Billboard, and Little Caesar creating special pieces for their social media channels, and built an Instagram following of over 36,000 followers.

Terri Salminen

Terri Salmie

I am American born and had the great fortune of growing up in the countryside of the northern Italian region the Veneto.  I soaked up culture, friendship and love of food through my mother’s intensely social attitude and followed her to markets and into the kitchen from three years of age onward.

Terri writing in her kitchen

I first met Terri about five years ago through our connection with Jamie Oliver’s Foundation.
She is a very lovely lady impossible not to fall in love with! She is caring, gives attention to the smallest of details when dealing with people and, YES!, she is a true food lover. Did I mention what a great food photographer she is as well? You can see it all on her blog Recipe Writings – and food memories.

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
The kitchen is the center of the house and a favorite place to write.

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I am most inspired to cook in the morning as I like to create new things during the first part of the day. Sunday is my favorite day of the week to cook, and I often make fresh pasta or something that takes time to prepare on Sunday.


Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?

I am a creative cook. I like to read recipes in order to learn. Cooking is a continuously growing process so reading recipes is like learning a new language to me. When I cook, I cook intuitively though.

Three ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?
Extra virgin olive oil, garlic and rosemary are always in my kitchen cabinet.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
My passion for cooking comes from two sources, my mother and her love of cooking and Italy, where I grew up.

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?
My favorite dish is zucchini soup. It never goes wrong and always tastes wonderful. It’s like comfort on a spoon. On the other hand, risotto and polenta never go wrong either and I love them too. And of course, I can’t live without tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato jam. I love tomatoes!

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew in your kitchen?
Yes, I would receive a tv crew in my kitchen and I would make them a nice lunch.

Do you follow any tv show or have a favourite cooking book?
I don’t watch cooking shows generally. I have many favorite cookbooks. Cooks I admire are Elizabeth David, Alice Waters, Nigel Slater and of course Jamie Oliver. I have many cookbooks but choose them carefully. I have just ordered Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking” and will read it page by page!

Terri Salminen  “I am a cook by profession and a philosopher by education. I am American born and had the great fortune of growing up in the countryside of the northern Italian region the Veneto.  I soaked up culture, friendship and love of food through my mother’s intensely social attitude and followed her to markets and into the kitchen from three years of age onward.

https://terrisalminen.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/caldogno-1966.jpg?w=672&resize=660%2C495#038;h=505

family portrait Terri Salminen – all rights reserved personal archive

I started cooking professionally when my first child was born. I follow the principles of the Italian kitchen, utilizing fresh, colorful and seasonal ingredients. I love to experiment with color and structure. In my cooking there is always a combination of raw and cooked, steamed or grilled, braised and stewed. I love herbs and cannot cook without olive oil, garlic and good sea salt.

I live in the Netherlands where I work as Sous Chef at Microsoft at Hutten, sometimes as private chef, give teaching classes and write about food for the Dutch edition of Jamie Magazine, on my own blog and for various special projects. My dream is to have a cooking school, open to the community, working with all generations, sharing the beauty of food.”

Regina Sader

zizi and kids

“I grew up living in the same house with my parents, grandma and auntie. I would spend hours in the kitchen with them when my mother was working. Trying absolutely everything. The best kibbeh was made by grandma.”

kitchen acessories

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
The kitchen is where everything starts. You prepare the food that gathers everyone together. It’s a huge pleasure and also therapeutical when I have the chance to cook and share such space of my life with people. I have very fond memories from my parents’ house kitchen with all those smells when my mother used to bake panettone or auntie mincing meat to prepare kibbeh for me….

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I prefere to cook around lunch time. Evenings tend to be quite tiring after a long day.

Are you a creative “chef” or simply love to follow recipes?
I would say nor one or the other. Occasionally I do follow some recipes but mainly I cook what I’ve learnt from my lebanese auntie that used to live with us, from my mom and a very dear family friend that saddly is no longer here with us.

cooking books

Three ingredients that are never missing in your kitchen cabinet?
Only three?! Well I can try: I consider all kinds of herbs one ingredient like parsley, mint and basil. Then it comes parmesan cheese and wine of course. Red and white!

How did your passion for cooking come about?
From my childhood. I grew up living in the same house with my parents, grandma and auntie. I would spend hours in the kitchen with them when my mother was working. Trying absolutely everything. The best kibbeh was made by grandma. We used to have a roost in the backyard so seeing my auntie killing the chickens, cleaning and cooking them was a very normal thing for me as a child to see. I loved eating the insides auntie would feed me. On top of it, I also had a italian mother-in-law that made the best fresh pasta ever together with some exquisite sauces and roasted meats.

 

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?
Arabic dishes are my speciality. Tabouleh, dolma, eggplant couscous and prawns, hummus. Risotto is also something I enjoy cooking. And my kids love them all.

kitchen window

Would you receive an entire tv crew in your kitchen for a day?
Why not?!

Do you follow any tv shows or have a favourite cooking book?
I don’t watch it regularly but I love Nigella Lawson’s programs. I do have her books and many others but frankly I don’t make much use of them. Pure lack of time really. I do have also one book about food in all regions in Lebanon that just the pictures are spectacular!
I will one day visit Lebanon, the country of my origins!

Regina Sader
loves to cook for family & friends when work allows. Brazilian born into a typical mixed race immigrant family. Her roots are all in her dishes with a history of food heritage many would die for to have it at home.

Francine Segan

“I became passionate about cooking about 20 years ago during a summer we spent renting a house in Italy. I was inspired by the wonderful local ingredients. I was inspired by the Italian friends I made who invited me to dinner for a homecooked true Italian meal. I was inspired by the delicious food I had in every ristorante and trattoria in Italy.”

 

Philosopher Kitchen

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?

Our kitchen is the most important room in our house. It’s the room where my husband and I start our day, over a cup of espresso and where we end our day each evening over dinner. It’s the room where our children love to sit and chat with me while I cook. It’s the heart of our home.

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?

I like cooking in the late afternoon, after work. It’s very relaxing for me to cook after a day of work.

Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?

A little of both. I like to follow recipes from my Italian chef friends, but I also like to combine ingredients and spices in my own way to create new dishes.

3 ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?

Fabulous artisan pasta like Felicetti, great olive oil from Tuscany or Umbria & Sicilian salt from Trappani

How did your passion for cooking come about?

I became passionate about cooking about 20 years ago during a summer we spent renting a house in Italy. I was inspired by the wonderful local ingredients. I was inspired by the Italian friends I made who invited me to dinner for a homecooked true Italian meal. I was inspired by the delicious food I had in every ristorante and trattoria in Italy.

Dolci

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?

My favorite dish is pasta with oil, garlic, hot peppers and a little colatura. I can never go wrong because I use only artisan imported Italian pasta & olive oil.

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew on your kitchen?

YES! What fun.

Do you follow any tv show or have a favourite cooking book?

I don’t follow any particular tv show, but have many many favorite cook books. I buy cookbooks when I’m in Italy. One of my favorites is by Fabio Picchi, on using leftovers, and another is on Italian desserts by Salvatore di Riso.

Francine Segan, one of America’s foremost experts on Italian cuisine, an engaging public speaker, author, TV personality and consultant.

Michi & Fabri

Michela & Fabrizio

“He’s a very useful hand in the kitchen but his main aim is to pinch the saucepans away to transforme them into lamps.”

lamp saucepan

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
It has a “leading role” importance.

the kitchen Michi & Fabri

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
Early evening.

cooking Michi & Fabri

Are you a creative “chef” or simply love to follow recipes?
Michela: I tend to creat and when trying following a recipe, I get it ¾ right and the rest I just add my final touch!

celebratios Michi & Fabri

Three ingredients that are never missing in your kitchen cabinet?
Leek, parmigiano cheese and freshly grounded black pepper.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
Michela: Inherited from my family just like many of my passions.

kitchen stories Michi & Fabri

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?
Michela: Lentil curry and risotto.
Fabrizio: rich sauces for pasta.

rich sauces for pasta Michi & Fabri

Would you receive an entire tv crew in your kitchen for a day?
Michela: I would say so…

fire place Michi & Fabri

Do you follow any tv shows or have a favourite cooking book?
Michela: Books. Specially those from my favourite aunt and her sister: “La casa golosa” and “Fare festa” by Michela and Paola Brengola.

working in hte kitchen Michi & Fabri

Michela Volante – is a Turin “born & bred” gal that lives and cook at the same house she was born! A writer, translator, school books author, she is very much in love with the word “writing” since she first learnt how to hold a pen in her hands. Domani andrò sposa e Uno a testa published by Ed. Frassinelli are her own novels.

Fabrizio Farina
– a graphic designer of an eccleitc kind, achieved his position in the editorial world passing through the world of atomic energy. He’s also a radio speaker with his own show ‘Ettore’ on Radio2 and mad about sci-fi culture. Viaggi nel tempo (2016) is his most reccent work with Einaudi Publishing house working on this priceless anthology. He’s a very useful hand in the kitchen but his main aim is to pinch the saucepans away to transforme them into lamps.
They share their house with two wonderful cats, Gaber and Gas.

Grace Parisi

grace parisi kitchen stories

She was born in a family of cooks and couldn’t avoid the influence. She has a resume that leaves any food writers wannabe dribbling! Yet her simplicity and good taste on making simple things turn into divine meals is pure talent within her DNA.

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
It’s a place of sharing and giving. It holds the potential for community.

grace parisi in her garden

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I love cooking on Sundays to prepare food, not only for that day, but for the week ahead. or at least the foundations for meals throughout the week. It’s relaxing but also focused because my schedule is so tight these days. (I fly to Birmingham, AL for work every week). I need to leave my family with some of me to remind them of me while i’m gone.

grace parisi sunday cooking

Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?
Creative. But i do follow recipes for unfamiliar foods or baking.

Three ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?
Sriracha, cumin and coconut milk.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
I grew up in a food-centered family. My mother, grandparents, brother…all cooks.

grace parisi fruit pie

What’s your favourite dish to cook that you kow it can never go wrong with it?
Pasta All’Arrabbiata. Spicy, quick, saucy.

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew in your kitchen?
I’ve shot in my house numerous times. The crew comes in and literally takes over. Pictures on my walls are taken down, my kitchen counters are cleared, new props are put in place and there is no room for anything! So much photo equipment, props and crew! I love the energy of a film/photo crew, but by the end of the day, I’m ready for them to leave. We shot an episode of the TV show I was on, “Simplify Your Life” (several years ago), in my back yard and the crew trampled plants, moved my grill and furniture and never put it back. My poor plants! It took them a few years to come back after that. I much prefer photo crews to TV crews. More respectful and less crazy!

grace parisi fruit pie mise en place

Do you follow any tv show or have a favourite cooking book?
I kind of love “La Mere de Famille”, a confectionary cookbook. Lovely photos. Also “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi – vegetarian magic.

Grace Parisi – or better know as the recipe goddess in the web world, “possibly by accident, she chose a career in food media that began more than 20 years ago. An art school grad with a degree in painting, Grace found bizarre work as a commercial TV food stylist gluing sesame seeds to hamburger buns and plumping barely cooked turkeys with mashed potatoes. Unfulfilled, Grace moved on to editorial work, food styling and writing for publications such as McCall’s, The New York Times, Redbook, and Food & Wine among others. This summer she joined the editorial team of Marley Spoon as Senior Culinary Editor.

Grace eventually joined the staff of Food & Wine Magazine as Senior Test Kitchen Editor, where she developed and wrote many noteworthy monthly columns, such as Food & Wine Handbook; Tasting & Testing; Flavor of the Month; Power Pantry; and Chefs Recipes Made Easy. Her most recent series was Grace in the Kitchen where she drew inspiration from personal experience and her family. She’s the author of 2 cookbooks, Summer/WInter Pasta and Get Saucy, a collection of more than 500 sauces which was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award for Best Single Subject Book. She’s currently working on a third. Her recipes have also appeared in numerous collections and anthologies. She plays guitar, loves surfing, camping, gardening in her postage-stamp Brooklyn backyard and cooking for a crowd, including her husband and two children. She dreams of raising chickens, erecting bat houses and making found-object bird feeders.”

grace parisi at work

About excerpts from her website.