We’ve been at this food blogger kitchen tour for a month now and honestly, I’m amazed at how many people are as excited about snooping around other kitchens as I am. I love seeing brilliant ideas implemented by my peeps. More than anything, I like how this series emphasizes that a food blog is great because of the effort, the creativity, and the personal style of each blogger. It’s not the kitchen that makes the blog, it’s the heart of the blogger(s). [Does this sound like my standard rant that a good camera does not a good photographer make? Just replace camera with kitchen and photographer with cook or food blogger.]
Last week, we ventured about sunny Southern California. This week, I’m taking you north near the heart of San Francisco. Have you ever been? I love it there, but I’ve always been a mere visitor. Today, we’re a guest of my favorite resident of the city!
blog: Dessert First
location: San Francisco, California
house: 1920s-ish apartment
kitchen footprint: 80 sq. ft.
photos: all photos of the Dessert First kitchen are courtesy of Anita
When I first became aware of the food blogosphere, one of my regular sources of inspiration was Dessert First. Anita is talented. She creates gorgeous food, teaches baking courses, and is working on her second cookbook right now. All of this from an engineer! Let’s hear it for gear heads! I had the pleasure of being the first stop on her virtual book tour when Field Guide to Cookies came out last year. The woman is not only a class act, but has a heart of gold. You are going to be amazed at what Anita accomplishes in this kitchen.
the entire kitchen of dessert first
I have a new found respect for you, my dear. It’s one thing to create those lovely pastries at all, but it is a whole new level of OMG now that I see the space you work in.
The kitchen in the apartment is about 80 to 90 square feet in an approximately 650 square foot place. Yes, it’s getting quite cramped and my boyfriend and I are looking for a new bigger place! But we’ve managed to make things work pretty well here. In the photo you can see the kitchen from the living room. It’s basically a rectangle, one side lined with cabinets/sink/counters, one side with the stove and refrigerator, one side with windows and a storage rack for my baking equipment, and the fourth side has a table/workspace that divides the kitchen from the living room. There’s not a lot of counter space, and much of it is taken up by appliances. You can see the microwave, my Kitchenaid, food processor, toaster oven, rice cooker. It means I do most of my prep work on the kitchen table.
the stove is nestled between the refrigerator and counter
I could see it getting crowded very quickly in there. When you have people over, do they mill about in the kitchen (as it always seems to happen at every cook’s party)?
I totally don’t mind people in the kitchen while I’m baking, although since the kitchen is so small usually they’re in the living room and I’m talking to them while I work. But again, I like the open plan – it’s something I hope to have in my future place as well.
I know you and Mr. Cutie are looking for a new place right now on top of finishing your second book and agreeing to this kitchen tour (you are a saint, Anita). So… what are you looking for in your next
Ha, does it totally surprise you that the kitchen is one of the first places we look at when house hunting? :) It doesn’t need to be a ginormous gourmet kitchen with four ovens and fifty cabinets (heck, who am I kidding, if I were a millionaire that’s exactly what I’d want!), but I am looking for more usable space just because having adequate space makes it easier to be organized instead of having your stuff piled everywhere. And because Mike and I both like to cook, it would be nice for both of us to fit in the kitchen without constantly bumping elbows. I also really like how our kitchen right now is open to the rest of the apartment, so we’re partial to having our future kitchen open as well – I think it’s much more inviting and better for entertaining. It’s actually been really fun to see all the kitchens while house hunting – there are some really nicely upgraded kitchens out there, and you can tell when some home owner is a foodie when the kitchen is one of the nicest rooms of the place!
storage: a 3-tier shelf and under the kitchen table
Space is at a premium, not just in San Francisco, but in your kitchen! I am quite impressed with how much you have packed in there and put to good use. (I also spy that chocolate tempering machine under your table – oh wow).
All my baking equipment and dishes I’ve collected for my food photography goes on this three-tier storage rack Mike was nice enough to set up for me. You may have also noticed this fish-tank looking thing on top of a small refrigerator. That’s actually Mike’s aquarium – sorry, I’m not growing any cacao pods in there or anything! But having the small second refrigerator is very useful for overflow from the main fridge. Underneath the kitchen table I’ve stored some of my bigger equipment, like my ice cream maker and chocolate tempering machine, that don’t fit anywhere else.
dishes in cabinets and on shelves
Most of the “basic” kitchen stuff like plates, bowls, cups, etc. go in the cabinets. Strangely enough, although we don’t have a ton of cabinets it actually makes it harder to keep track of what’s in the pantry – mostly because we end up cramming cabinets as full as possible so then we can’t find anything. So I *know* in my mind what I have, it’s just that sometimes I can’t find it and I end up taking apart the whole cabinet to find it’s slipped into a corner somewhere! There’s usually a ton of chocolate, nuts, a lot of random spices and teas, and oh, way too many kinds of sugar and flour.
some pretty sweet cookbooks
What do you love most about your kitchen?
One of my favorite things about the apartment and kitchen is the natural light. Since there is a sliding glass door on one side (west side) of the kitchen, it gets a lot of beautiful natural light, making it easy for me to do photography in the kitchen. I also included a photo of the view from our balcony off our living room to the north, of San Francisco and the bay.
looking out from the balcony
How much time do you spend in the kitchen?
I’m in the kitchen as often as I can – it’s where all my ideas come to life. Because the kitchen has to be so multipurpose – I bake and photograph pretty much in the same space, it’s really forced me to be as clean and organized as possible. I do dishes OFTEN because once they pile up, they take over the kitchen. I clean up as I bake or cook, since it helps keep more space available. However, whenever I photograph the food, the rest of the apartment turns into a mess because all my props, dirty dishes, etc get moved out of the way. Does that happen to you? [You bet, it’s ridiculous, really…] I do all photography on the kitchen table. I’ll look up from a photo shoot and find that the living room is covered in different color backgrounds, plates I didn’t use, things I had to move out of the way. I think it would be nice if in my next place there was enough room to set up a separate studio space, so I didn’t have to move everything around to take a photo.
There’s a photo of the table with some of my collection of backgrounds I use, along with my tripod. I love my tripod, by the way. Don’t know how I did without it.
the staging area
Anita, thank you so much for letting all of us cram into your kitchen to see where your fabulous sweets and treats are created with equal parts love and genius. Best of luck on the house hunting and the book and everything else going on this year! :)
hard to say which is sweeter, the cupcakes or anita? (i think anita!)
I must say, of all the food bloggers on this kitchen tour, I don’t think *anyone* is as tough as my girl, Peabody. She plays HOCKEY, folks. The word badass comes to mind. I wouldn’t want her any other way because she says what she thinks, she doesn’t pull her punches, she makes me laugh, and she lives by her rules.
blogs: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Northwest Noshings
location: a quiet little suburb north of beautiful Seattle, Washington
house: 1.5 year old house (my first house ever and I am still in love with it)
kitchen footprint: I don’t actually know, I just know it is half of the downstairs
photos: all photos of the Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (and Northwest Noshings) kitchen are courtesy of Peabody
In case you don’t follow Peabody’s blog(s), she had a miserable abscessed tooth a few weeks ago. Her kitchen was slated to go up last week and she was actually going to try to take the pictures and write up her tour while she felt absolutely horrible! What a trooper. Thankfully, Todd and Diane swapped places with her so she could get a root canal (ouch!) and recover. Really good people all around, don’t you think? Let’s step inside…
Welcome to my kitchen! I had planned on cleaning it spic and span but if you are a reader of my blog then you know it’s not my style. The wider shots of my kitchen were taken a while ago so some things are missing but there was better light in those pictures so I went with them.
hmmm peabody, i’d say the square footage is… huge!
I like that little piggy and I see a hen on the counter.
The pig is Henry. He is there to mess with my dog’s mind. I have a lot of chickens if you look closely. I have a chicken thing…but not roosters, only chickens.
You tell me that you easily spend 5-6 hours a day in your kitchen. I could plop a bed in there and spend many many hours in that lovely kitchen. Tell me what you love about it.
Everything. Seriously. We chose our house because of the kitchen. We were looking for smaller homes (around 1600-1800sq ft) as we are not having children and the idea of having to clean a large house was not something I wanted. But sadly all of the homes we looked at had really tiny kitchens. We walked into the model (we had NO plans to buy a house for another 6-8 months we were just checking out neighborhoods) and I saw that kitchen. I went over and hugged the kitchen island. My husband looked at me and knew that this was the house.
Love at first sight :)
i’d hug that island too
This is a very nice party kitchen, as in it’s a great place to prep food while having enough space for guests to hang out without risking injury.
I am fine with people in there talking away while I cook. If I could evict my dog I would. She is always trolling for food and is always trying to trip me!
Yeah, I see her checking the status of your floors in that picture. I’m sure she just wants to keep things tidy :) What about the bunny? Do you let her have free run in the kitchen?
No! LFB (Little Fuzzy Bunny) likes to dig. Rabbit nails versus my hardwood floors would not bode well.
Is that a wine fridge on your counter?
That is a wine fridge, though sadly after many years it is dying. I am not sure if we are going to replace it or not…I kind of want the extra counter space.
residents of the cupboards
What is it about cooking and baking that you love so much?
It feeds my soul. Baking provides me with a sense of calmness and accomplishment (except when something fails, then there is a lot of swearing). My mother is an excellent cook and so in some ways I feel it is hereditary.
Have a favorite kitchen appliance?
Kitchen Aid mixer. I own two and really, I could easily own and use three of them. Also a big fan of the nutmeg grinder since it is my favorite spice and I use it a ton! I have a small obsession with kitchen towels as well. Right now, since it is getting close to Easter I have this cute little bunny.
fridge business : bunny towel
Is this your dream kitchen?
Dream, no. That is in some magazine in Cottage Living. BUT yes, for who I am and the life I lead this is SOOO my dream kitchen. It truly is my happy place.
People always ask me what are my most used cookbooks. Well, there they are, sitting out, and yes, you do see a healthy cookbook in there!
Hey, I have Sherry Yard’s TSB on my desk right now too!
take note: peabody’s most used cookbooks
I asked Peabody for a picture of CCS (Crazy Cocker Spaniel) and LFB, as they make guest appearances on her blog from time to time. Furry companions add that touch of unpredictability in the kitchen that cooks always love! At least, I know Kaweah does.
guardians of the kitchen
Where do you shoot your blog photos?
99% of my shooting is done in the dining room. I have a whole set up there. We never really eat at the table because of all my crap, unless guests come, then I clean it off. During the winter months it is too dark most of the time and so I have switched to using lights, which I never thought I would do. But I really like them and they are a lifesaver since I actually do a lot of my baking late at night and can’t wait around for another 8 hours or so for daylight to peek its head.
the night owl’s setup : don’t mess with peabody
I was also going to get dressed up for my photo but then thought, this is what I look like on a Sunday afternoon, so I went with that.
Right on, lady. We love you more in your hockey jersey than that old sequin evening gown anyway! Thank you for welcoming us into your kitchen, especially after feeling under the weather. I hope you’re right as rain in no time and back to kicking butt on the ice.
Next Thursday is the final installment of this series! Be sure to tune in because I promise it will be another pair of awesome bloggers. Thank you for your enthusiasm and I hope you will leave a comment to let Anita and Peabody know how much we appreciate their sharing of their home kitchens. Be good!
week 1: use real butter & supplemental
week 2: winos and foodies & figs, lavender, and cheese
week 3: eggs on sunday & sunday nite dinner
week 4: alosha’s kitchen & white on rice couple